Cigarette in hand
A man smoking a cigarette. REUTERS / Shailesh Andrade

Public smoking bans even help the children of smokers, laying to rest a theory that bans force adult smokers to light up more often at home, according to a new study at San Diego State University.

Researchers at SDSU’s Graduate School of Public Health found that in addition to public health benefits, bans may also have positive effects for infant and child health, including increases in birth weight and reductions in asthma attacks.

“This evidence is contrary to concerns that bans could shift smoking from banned locations to the home, potentially increasing secondhand smoke exposure among pregnant women and children,” said Brandy Lipton, an assistant professor of health management.

The researchers used publicly available data on infant and child health and compared them among states and localities that enacted 100-percent smoke-free ordinances and states that did not have such bans in place.

“Our research indicates that these comprehensive bans have the strongest positive effects on infant and child health outcomes relative to limited or partial bans,” said Lipton.

Previous studies have shown public smoking bans are associated with health benefits among adults, and Lipton said the new findings could help more governmental entities decide whether to implement smoke-free legislation.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.