According to a new study, smoke-free legislation in England has been linked to fewer hospital admissions for respiratory infections in children.

The research, published online in the European Respiratory Journal, is one of the most comprehensive investigations into the impact of smoke-free legislation on child health.

Researchers used the Hospital Episode Statistics database to analyze 1,651,675 hospital admissions in children across England from 2001-2012. The children analyzed were aged between 0 and 14 years to minimize the effect of those who actively smoked.

The results found that the introduction of legislation was followed by an immediate reduction of 13.8% in admission to hospital for lower respiratory tract infections. Admissions for upper respiratory tract infections also decreased, but at a more gradual rate. The findings also highlighted that the reduction in hospital admissions varied according to socioeconomic status with the decrease being largest among the most deprived children.

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