Total smoking bans linked to more quitting smoking

By Sheryl Kay • Published: April 17th, 2014
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

There’s nothing pretty about smoking cigarettes. For decades studies have linked the habit to a host of conditions, from cardiovascular disease to cancer to low birth weight. Even for those who don’t partake, secondhand smoke is almost just as dangerous … and there is evidence now that toxic particles are left on surfaces exposed to smoke.

In response to the health hazards, researchers have investigated numerous remedies to encourage smokers to quit, including nicotine patches, self-help programs and even hypnosis. Now a new study shows that just being told you can’t smoke might be the magic motivator.

Previously, research showed that the smoking rate dropped in cities where partial bans had been instituted. But the new research showed an even more profound result with a total ban. Published in the journal Preventive Medicine, the investigation involved surveying almost 2,000 adults regarding their smoking habits. Responses showed there was a significantly increased chance smokers would cut back or quit in cities where there were public bans, when smoking also was banned in the individual’s home.

Women over the age of 65 were especially more likely to quit or at least cut back when smoking was not permitted in the house. And interestingly, total home bans were more effective in homes without children. The researchers suggested this may have occurred because smokers in those homes were more focused on quitting for their own health rather than quitting simply to protect children from secondhand smoke.

The researchers praised states that have instituted bans, and encouraged those that haven’t yet to come on board. It’s definitely one big, public step in helping people quit smoking.