January 2008 saw new legislation implanted in Portugal restricting smoking in closed public spaces. As second-hand smoke worsens asthma symptoms, it is important to understand how asthma patients feel this new legislation impacts on their well-being. A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in a convenience sample formed of 96 asthma patients who had Pulmonology appointments at the Pulido Valente and Santa Marta Hospitals. All data was collected from a standardised questionnaire with volunteer, anonymous and confidential answers. Epi Info (TM) software was used for statistical processing purposes, and the results analysed using the chi-squared test (alpha=5%). 67.7% of the patients polled were exposed to second-hand smoke until December 2007, with a higher percentage in those currently in work. A considerable percentage (39.6%) described positive changes (measured by improved performance of daily life activities, decrease in symptoms or lesser recourse to SOS medication), even though the majority did not recognise any improvement. 81.6% of those who noted positive changes said they were no longer exposed to second-hand smoke with the passing of the new legislation, and 65.8% stated that the smoking ban was the factor responsible for those changes. These results, only two months after the implementation of the legislative ban on smoking in public spaces, underline the importance of approving effective measures to create and enforce smoke-free environments, reducing worsening of symptoms and improving asthma patients' well-being.
|Journal||Revista Portuguesa de Pneumologia|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2009|