Ban Smoking and Save Lives, Says Brazilian Study

Looking for more evidence that smoking cigarettes isn't just bad for you, but also for everyone around you? Look no further than Brazil.

A new study shows that the number of child deaths in the country dropped significantly following a full ban on smoking in public places.

The study—by Imperial College London and the Brazilian National Cancer Institute—estimates that by strengthening their anti-tobacco policies between 2000 and 2016, Brazil managed to keep over 15,000 premature child deaths from occurring.

Since 2014, Brazil has had a complete ban on smoking in public places that are partially or completely enclosed, including bars and restaurants. Before that, there were partial bans that were sporadically enforced.

Researchers found that the 2014 ban coincided with a 5.2 percent drop in infant mortality and a 3.3 percent reduction in neonatal mortality. In fact, in poorer areas the reduction in deaths was even higher, showing that the smoking ban might also played a role in reducing healthcare inequity across the province.

"You can see from Brazil's example how much of a difference we can make to children's health by completely banning smoking in public places," said Dr. Thomas Hone, lead author on the study.

"Unfortunately most of the world's people still aren't covered by comprehensive smoking bans. It's appalling that so many babies and children are being harmed by second-hand smoke when a relatively easy measure could help to prevent this."

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