Claim: Smoke-free laws linked to drop in child asthma attacks

So where was all the childhood asthma in, say, the 1950s and 1960s?

“Introducing laws banning smoking in enclosed public places can lead to swift and dramatic falls in the number of children admitted to hospital suffering asthma attacks, according to a study in England published on Monday.” [Reuters]

5 thoughts on “Claim: Smoke-free laws linked to drop in child asthma attacks”

  1. Finally seen the paper on which this pres released. Utter garbage! Asthma admission rates DID NOT CHANGE after the introduction of the ban! The authors made a model of an increasing level of asthma based on the two previous years (get that – the TWO years prior) and then extrapolated this to say what the number would have been without the ban. I cannot believe this was published. There is not a single redeeming feature in this paper – it is garbage through and through. made worse by press release churning in the press.

  2. The question this raises is, “asthama attacks decreased due to decreased smoking”. Yet every day some beneficial substance is blamed for “the alarming increase in asthma attacks!” So which is it? More attacks? Or less attacks? Or is it just whatever is convenient?

  3. Asthsma diagnosis increased from the 70’s (along with almost all other childhood illness) due to the public health “awareness” program which scared parents into taking children to hospital with anything remotely similar to a wheeze.

    With respect to the heart-attack study, this was fairly comprehensively de-bunked and shown to relate to methods of treatment, not incidence of smoking, as it used number of deaths – which was already going down. This study lists “hospital admission” for asthma as a the variable studied (I am only going by the quotes from the press release). I would be interested to see how other aspects of asthma treatment might also have changed as I suspect there were not too many children affected by the ban on smoking in pubs, for example. By 2006, very few schools (the enclosed public places most frequented by children) would have allowed smoking.

  4. Interesting–no figures from the heart attack study. Must not have been so dramatic.

    Gene–I had allergies clear back to the late 1950s and still do. Noble is as far from accurate to describe my childhood as you can get. Allergies can come from many places–clean living is not one, unless you count the possibility that all those crappy smells put into everything from detergent to trash bags contributes. Hay fever is one type of allergy–it is not all encompassing. Cockroaches are big contributor to asthma attacks, which living in messes would increase this, not decrease it. Banning of effective roach killers contributed to the problem, reportedly.

    Asthma increased when idiots started hermetically sealing their houses to save energy. So did radon gas build up. I have pictures of frost patterns on my windows. The first thing most people say is: “You need better windows”. My answer–only if I want a buildup of pollutants in my house.

    It is reasonable that banning smoking decreases asthma attacks. Note that the article did NOT say it decreases the number of people who HAVE asthma. That’s a very different number. As for asthma and smoke, in the past, parents were bright enough not to take a child into an area with smoke, especially if it had triggered an attack in the past. Now the nanny state has to step in, indicating parents aren’t very bright anymore?

  5. The childhood asthma in 1950s and 1960s was controlled by helminths and the normal filth we all wallowed in. When that was eradicated in civilised societies, we got asthma and allergies.

    Recall the first time you heard the word “allergy”. My grannies knew it as “hay fever”. Then, check out who had it and who didn’t. It was the disease of the nobles.

    Keyword: igE

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