The impact of smoke-free legislation on fetal, infant and child health: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol

Jasper V. Been*, Ulugbek Nurmatov, Constant P. van Schayck, Aziz Sheikh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: Second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure is estimated to kill 600 000 people worldwide annually. The WHO recommends that smoke-free indoor public environments are enforced through national legislation. Such regulations have been shown to reduce SHS exposure and, consequently, respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity. Evidence of particular health benefit in children is now emerging, including reductions in low birthweight deliveries, preterm birth and asthma exacerbations. We aim to comprehensively assess the impact of smoke-free legislation on fetal, infant and childhood outcomes. This can inform further development and implementation of global policy and strategies to reduce early life SHS exposure. Methods: Two authors will search online databases (1975-present; no language restrictions) of published and unpublished/in-progress studies, and references and citations to articles of interest. We will consult experts in the field to identify additional studies. Studies should describe associations between comprehensive or partial smoking bans in public places and health outcomes among children (0-12 years): stillbirth, preterm birth, low birth weight, small for gestational age, perinatal mortality, congenital anomalies, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, upper and lower respiratory infections and wheezing disorders including asthma. The Cochrane Effectiveness Practice and Organisational Care (EPOC)-defined study designs are eligible. Study quality will be assessed using the Cochrane 7domain- based evaluation for randomised and clinical trials, and EPOC criteria for quasiexperimental studies. Data will be extracted by two reviewers and presented in tabular and narrative form. Metaanalysis will be undertaken using random-effects models, and generic inverse variance analysis for adjusted effect estimates. We will report sensitivity analyses according to study quality and design characteristics, and subgroup analyses according to coverage of ban, age group and parental/maternal smoking status. Publication bias will be assessed. Ethics and dissemination: Ethics assessment is not required. Results: Will be presented in one manuscript. The protocol is registered with PROSPERO, registration number CRD42013003522.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere002261
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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