A study conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospitals, Maastricht University, Harvard Medical School, and Hasselt University discovered that smoking bans help in decreasing the number premature births and asthma-related hospital visits on children.

The researchers analyzed 11 studies from North America and Europe which focused on at least 2.5 million births and 250,000 children who had to be treated for asthma. They found out that smoking bans on public places has a positive impact on both maternal and child health, however, the extent of the impact varies depending on the specific location. Data also showed that the number of premature births and hospital visits for asthma decreased by 10 percent after the implementation of smoking bans.

Furthermore, the study discovered that only 16 percent of the world's population is protected with laws banning smoking in public places while second-hand smoke exposure affects 40 percent of children. It has been proven that smoking bans on public areas such as parks, bars, restaurants, and work places have been effective in protecting adults from second-hand smoke but there has been no conclusive research yet to assess the benefits of anti-smoking laws on children.

"This research has demonstrated the very considerable potential that smoke-free legislation offers to reduce preterm births and childhood asthma attacks. The many countries that are yet to enforce smoke-free legislation should in the light of these findings reconsider their positions on this important health policy question," senior author and a physician-researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Professor of Primary Care Research and Development at The University of Edinburgh and visiting professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Aziz Sheikh said in a press release.

Second-hand smoking can be cause premature births as well as some congenital diseases. Researchers have also proven that children exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk for long-term health problems such as chronic diseases affecting the heart, lungs, liver, and other major organs.

This study was published in the March 28 issue of The Lancet.