Updated: 13:14, Tuesday January 22, 2013
The number of children admitted to UK hospitals with symptoms of asthma has fallen since the ban on smoking in enclosed public places came into effect, a study has found.
Research shows there was a 12.3 per cent fall in admissions in 12 months after the law came into effect in July 2007, and these have continued to drop in subsequent years, suggesting that the benefits of the legislation were sustained over time.
National Health Service (NHS) statistics analysed by researchers at Imperial College London showed the fall was equivalent to 6,802 fewer hospital admissions in the first three years of the law coming into effect.
The findings have been published in the journal Pediatrics.
Asthma affects one in 11 children in the UK.
Before the ban was implemented, hospital admissions for children suffering a severe asthma attack were increasing by 2.2 per cent a year, peaking at 26,969 admissions in 2006/07.
The findings show the trend reversed immediately after the law came into effect, with lower admission rates among boys and girls of all ages, in both wealthy and poor neighbourhoods and in cities and rural areas.
Previous studies have shown that hospital admissions for childhood asthma fell after smoke-free legislation was introduced in Scotland and North America.