Half a decade later and the smoking ban shows the health benefits
4th July 2012
Five years have now passed since the controversial legislation was introduced that forbid smokers from lighting up inside workplaces and enclosed public areas in England. This includes all restaurants, nightclubs, bars, shopping centres, etc. and the aforementioned places are probably what have effected smokers the most, forcing them outside onto the pavement if they want to have a cigarette, regardless of the weather. One of the core aims of the initiative was to drastically reduce non-smoker’s exposure to harmful second-hand smoking, whereby someone can be breathing in all the thousands of harmful chemical compounds that are inside tobacco. It is estimated at least 69 of these compounds can cause cancer, so clearly the government needed to act on this serious issue.  At first the legislation was met with some fierce opposition and irritation, however a survey carried out by the Department of Health indicated that more than eight out of 10 people agreed with it, particularly in places such as restaurants and leisure centres. It was thought that previous to the ban being in place, around four in ten children were being exposed to second-hand smoke at home, but this figure is now dropping. The exposure puts children at huge risk of developing conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia and coughing/wheezing. In addition, The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that second-hand smoke increases your risk of heart disease or lung cancer by up to a third. With so many dangers, the only surprising thing about the smoking ban was that it took so long for the government to introduce it in England. Indeed in the UK, Scotland was the first country to pioneer such a revolutionary legislation, and first put into place smoke-free laws back in March 2006. The Scottish ban showed the benefits via a study published in 2010. This particular study analysed over 21,000 asthma admissions over a nine year period, between 2000 and 2009. All admissions studied were in regards to under 15-year olds. Prior to the 2006 law being passed, admissions in this age group were increasing each year by roughly 9%. After the smoking ban, it was shown that the admissions started to drop by 18.4% for pre-schoolers and 20.8% in those aged between five to 14.  Earlier this year, Medical Specialists Pharmacy first looked at the impact on tobacco smoke to children and the massive detrimental consequences it can have to their health and lives. Other research in Scotland noted a 17% drop in hospital admissions for heart attacks by 2007 and a Glaswegian study linked a 10% decrease in Scotland’s premature birth rate to the smoking ban. In the year following the ban in England, there were approximately 1,200 less hospital admissions for heart attacks and with so many positives to avoiding cigarettes and stopping smoking, some government ministers are considering the possibility of introducing a ban on smoking in cars when children are present. Robin Hewings, Cancer Research UK’s tobacco control manager, spoke out on the positive impact that the 2007 smoking ban had made, “Although we won't see a reduction in cancer rates for some years to come, the health gains that we have seen are very encouraging – such as the reduction in admissions to hospital for heart attacks. People no longer have to breathe cancer-causing chemicals from smoky air in their workplace. The law banning smoking in public places triggered around 300,000 smokers to try to kick the habit. There are now fewer public triggers that might tempt a smoker to fall off the wagon. Research has shown that far fewer people now allow smoking in their own homes – meaning that more children are benefiting from a smoke-free environment too." We can conclude there are an endless number of reasons why quitting smoking would benefit you and those around you. The obvious things are that your clothes, home and breath are not tarnished with the sickening smell of tobacco. Your wallet would feel a lot heavier as the government’s budget clearly aims to drive up the cost of cigarettes each year without fail. Also, do you really enjoy having to go outside into the cold and rain simply to have a cigarette? Then there are countless long-term health risks you are putting yourself in danger of such as heart attacks, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancers of the lungs, stomach, bowel, bladder, liver and many more. If you would like to stop smoking, Medical Specialists Pharmacy can help. We offer the prescription medication Champix from little as £75.00 per pack. After taking Champix, the craving and withdrawal symptoms normally associated with stopping smoking are considerably reduced, making it easier to quit smoking and live a much healthier life.