Smoking banned at office? Then it reduces at home too

Due to a smoking ban at office, fewer smokers smoke at home

CigaretteSmokers in India usually do not smoke at home if there is a smoking prohibition at their workplace, a new study has found.

According to research from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey India, 2009/2010, 64 per cent of adults who work in environments where smoking is banned also do not smoke at home. Only 42 per cent of those who work at organisations where smoking is permitted do not smoke at home. There are more smoke-free homes in states where more smoke-free workplaces exsist.

This indicates that a large population may have benefited from the smoking prohibition laws that were recently introduced. The legislation may have especially helped women and children who usually do not smoke but have to bear with second-hand smoke.

“This study suggests that, in India, there is good evidence that smoke-free laws in workplaces are associated with a reduction in second-hand smoke at home,” said Dr John Tayu Lee, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, who led the study.

“The results support the idea of ‘norm spreading’, whereby restrictions on smoking in public places make it seem less acceptable to expose others to second-hand smoke more generally, including at home,” said Dr Christopher Millett, from the School of Public Health at Imperial. “They highlight the importance of accelerating the implementation of smoke-free legislation more widely in India.” Dr Millett is also a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at PHFI.

According to the survey, 110 million Indians smoke. Government introduced national legislation prohibiting smoking in public places and workplaces in 2008. However the law is not comprehensive…it permits designated smoking areas in large restaurants and hotels. The law gets enforced at times, does not get enforced at times and even when enforced, the fine is a modest sum of INR 200, [USD 3.80]. Nationally, 30 per cent of adults report being exposed to second-hand smoke at work, with 52 per cent exposed at home.

Studies in the USA, Ireland and Scotland have found that implementation of comprehensive smoking prohibition free laws has lowered second-hand smoke in homes. However little was known, prior to this study, whether low- and middle-income countries also benefit from such laws.

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