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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Be Well

Fewer preterm births tied to smoking bans

Implementing indoor smoking bans in public places may contribute to fewer preterm births, according to a study by researchers from Hasselt University in Belgium.

They looked at more than 600,000 births that occurred between 2002 and 2011. Public smoking bans were phased in within the country beginning in January 2006. The study found no decrease in preterm births — babies born before 37 weeks — before the bans. However, data showed a 3 percent reduction in preterm births after January 2007, when the workplace and restaurant bans had taken effect, and another 3 percent decline after the bar ban in 2010.

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