Public Smoking Bans Have Additional Positive Effects

November 12, 2012

Public Smoking Bans Have Additional Positive Effects

A new study has identified that if you live in a county with a total smoking ban in all places including bars, workplaces and restaurants then you live in a county where you are more likely to find homes having a ban on smoking too. This overflow effect from public places into the private home appears to be generated because of the overall smoke free environment.

The study which is available online and is soon to be published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has also found that if the home has children in it then it is more probably going to be smoke free.

The researchers, led by Karen Messer, professor and director of biostatistics at Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego, used the results from a national survey investigating tobacco usage to investigate factors affecting smoking related trends.

A lead investigator, Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco believes that the findings show that the clean indoor air laws effects are further ranging than previously thought. The law’s primary aim is to remove any exposure to secondhand smoke in public places. However Glantz tells us, “Our results show that these laws have the important additional benefit of stimulating smoke-free homes, with a larger association in homes occupied by smokers, protecting kids and other family members from secondhand smoke”.

Because the home can be the main place where children are exposed to secondhand smoke Glantz says, “This work shows that an additional justification for enacting smoke-free legislation is the secondary effect of encouraging voluntary smoke-free rules at home, particularly in homes occupied by smokers”.

Further encouraging findings were also published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, where another report has identified that the number of homes becoming smoke free in the U.S. rose by over 300% in the years from 1992 until 2007. Yet if a home had a smoker and children only half of them are smoke free.

Other findings noted that the group with the least uptake in total smoking bans was African-American households. Other areas of resistance included people living below the poverty line or with poor education. These households were less likely to have a smoke free household. It was also noted that people living in states with a high incidence of smoking had less likelihood of having a smoke free home.

Karen Messer says of the future, “Effective interventions to promote smoke-free homes among smoking families are needed, and this study can help identify populations that would benefit from such interventions”.

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