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Many European countries -- including Britain, France and Germany -- forbid smoking in all public places. But Italy, Greece and some others have been slower to adopt the bans, sometimes simply limiting smoking in certain areas.
In the new report, researchers looked at emergency hospital admissions for asthma at all of Scotland's hospitals from January 2000 through October 2009. The data was for kids age 14 and younger.
They found that hospital admissions for children's asthma attacks were increasing by 5 percent per year before the ban, reaching about six admissions per day on average in January 2006. But afterward, children's asthma attacks declined by 13 percent a year, falling to below five admissions per day in October 2009.
The ban largely targets places where adults work and socialize. But there seems to be a ripple effect: It made smoking less popular and led significant numbers of adult smokers to cut back or quit their habit at home, where the kids were, said Dr. Jill Pell, a study author.
"People are choosing to protect their kids even when they don't have to," said Pell, a University of Glasgow professor of public health.
That's consistent with U.S. research, which has shown that smoking bans were followed by a decline in smoking at home, Pechacek said.
The New England Journal of Medicine: http://www.nejm.org/
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