This research demonstrated a fall in premature births and low weight new-borns following the Scottish ban on smoking in enclosed public places in 2006. This was an important demonstration of the benefits of a smoking ban and provided strong evidence for other countries considering a similar policy.

Why was this work needed?

Scotland was the first country in the UK to bring in a smoking ban in enclosed spaces. Previous studies had shown that the ban was likely to lead to a general reduction in smoking and in environmental tobacco smoke. Given the known risks of smoking in pregnancy, the researchers wanted to see whether this change in the law could also improve the health of new-born babies.

What happened?

This study analysed births in Scotland to see whether the 2006 ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces would lead to a decrease in the number of babies born prematurely or with a low birth weight.

What were the benefits?

Researchers found that both premature and low weight births decreased after the introduction of the ban. This added to evidence that suggested the smoking ban led to significant health benefits, and supported the extension of the policy to other countries. For example, the ban has now been adopted across the UK.

Where can I go for more information?

Impact of Scotland’s Smoke-Free Legislation on Pregnancy Complications