A smoking ban can help reduce the risk of spreading diseases such as TB and hepatitis B, a new study has found.
The study, which examined the impact of banning indoor smoking in the US, Australia and New Zealand, found the ban had the greatest impact on reducing TB and HBV infections among adults.
“In Australia, where the ban is most widely enforced, there was a significant reduction in TB and the overall TB death rate in the first two years after the ban,” said lead author Dr Chris Raine.
“While this reduction was achieved in the years after implementation, the decline in the TB death rates persisted.”
Dr Raine said the study’s findings showed the smoking ban had an effect on TB and Hepatitis B and that the study was unable to quantify the impact on HBV deaths.
“We can’t say that this reduction in infection rates is a result of the smoking cessation or by other factors, but it is a significant result,” he said.
“It’s clear that this ban reduced the risk for TB and HIV infection, and it has been shown in several other studies, including one in New Zealand that the reduction in infections was related to the ban.”
Dr Mark Piotrowski, the lead author of the study, said while the study did not look at the impact the ban might have on other diseases, the findings indicated that it was a strong deterrent to spread the disease.
“There is a lot of evidence that smoking bans are effective, but we need to see if they also reduce the rate of HBV,” Dr Piotrowksi said.
The research was published in the journal BMJ.