Smoking bans can influence light users to give up or non-users never to take up smoking cigarettes, finds a study.
The study found that young males who were light smokers before a smoking ban was instituted in their area were more likely to give up cigarettes after a ban came into effect.
Smokers who lived in areas where there was never a smoking ban weren’t likely to drop their cigarette habit. Smoking bans did not seem to affect tobacco use among women, although their use was already below that of men, the study suggested.
“These findings provide some of the most robust evidence to date on the impact of smoking bans on young people’s smoking,” said Mike Vuolo, Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University, in the US.
Results showed that the probability of a young man smoking in the last 30 days was 19 per cent for those living in an area without a ban, but only 13 per cent for those who live in an area with a ban.
For women, the probability was the same (11 per cent) regardless of where they lived.
This study included 4,341 persons aged between 19 and 31. Data on city-level smoking bans came from the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANRF) tobacco policy database.
The database told the researchers which participants lived in cities where there was a comprehensive smoking ban, which means that workplaces, bars and restaurants are 100 per cent tobacco-free with no indoor exceptions.
The researchers found big changes in the number of bans. The percentage of people in this study living in a city with a comprehensive ban increased from 14.9 per cent to 58.7 per cent during that time.
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“We found that the implementation of a smoking ban reduces the odds that a young person in that location will smoke at all over time. In other words, young people are less likely to smoke once a smoking ban goes into effect,” Vuolo added.
Smoking bans didn’t work to reduce or end smoking for those who smoked more than a pack a day when the bans began. What they did do was prevent light smokers from becoming heavy smokers, the study suggested.
“We found that locations that have had a smoking ban for longer periods of time have fewer youth, regardless of gender, who are heavy smokers than other areas,” the author said.