Drop in premature births linked to public smoking bans

WASHINGTON – A recent study finds that a drop in premature births could be linked to public smoking bans.

BBC reports that a study of 600,000 births found a decrease – including three successive drops – in babies born before 37 weeks.

The study, conducted by Hasselt University in Belgium, looked at the rate of premature births in Belgium at each phase of a public smoking ban. The three phases of the ban were implemented in 2006, 2007 and in 2010.

BBC reports that after each phase of the ban, the premature birth rate dropped by about 3 percent.

Smoking while pregnant is known to be a cause of reduced birth weight and possible premature birth.

WTOP’s Rosemary Frisino Toohey contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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