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Smoking Bans Lead to Less, Not More, Smoking at Home

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Smoke-free legislation leads to less smoking in smokers' homes, not more, according to research published online Feb. 13 in Tobacco Control.

Ute Mons, M.D., of the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, and colleagues conducted a prospective panel study to measure changes in prevalence and predictors of home smoking bans among smokers in Ireland, France, Germany, and the Netherlands after smoke-free legislation was implemented. Survey responses from the United Kingdom were used as a control.

A total of 4,634 survey responses from countries where smoke-free legislation had been implemented, and 1,080 responses from the control country were received. The researchers found that, in all four countries where smoke-free legislation was implemented, the proportion of smokers with a total home smoking ban increased significantly; and in three of the four countries, the number of cigarettes smoked per day either stabilized or decreased for those who continued to smoke. Those who banned smoking in their homes after legislation implementation were more likely to do so if they were already planning to quit smoking, had a small child or were expecting the birth of a child, or if smoking in bars was already banned.

"Our findings strongly support the premise that smoke-free legislation does not lead to more smoking in smokers' homes. The data suggest rather that smoke-free legislation may stimulate smokers to establish total smoking bans in their homes," the authors write.

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