Friday, May 16, 2008

Smoking bans deter the initiation of smoking

I have posted many times on the value of smoking bans. These stop passive smoking externalities but also increase the user costs of smoking which encourages quitting. They also improve financial returns in businesses subject to the bans. They also provide libertarians with a no-brainer way of padding out their blogsites with attacks on ‘nanny-staters’ which is probably a socially safer activity than advocating legal gun ownership or the legalisation of herpoin for toddlers. This piece from NewScientist suggests they also deter teenagers from taking up the habit.

Restaurant smoking bans don't just protect diners and staff from other people's smoke, they help stop young people becoming habitual smokers.

‘In 2001, Michael Siegel* and colleagues at Boston University surveyed 3834 Massachusetts youths, with follow-ups two and four years later. In towns where restaurants had no smoking bans or kept smoking areas, 9.8% had smoked over 100 cigarettes in their lifetimes, compared with 7.9% in towns with smoking bans.

Once the researchers corrected for factors such as whether their parents smoked, those in towns with bans were 35% less likely to be habitual smokers (Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, vol 162, p 477).

Bans don't make teenagers less likely to try cigarettes, but seem to stop them making it a habit, perhaps due to less contact with smokers or because smoking seems less socially acceptable.’

The full article by Siegel is available free at the link. BTW Michael Siegel has a very active and interesting blogsite here. Via it I came to this interesting report on tobacco control in Canada – one of those countries most successful in encouraging less smoking.


Anonymous said...

China, or at least Beijing, is bringing in smoking bans soon. (in July I think) They have already changed the scope due to lobbying and have placed the onus on the individual not the person who owns the space.

So if you light up in a restaraunt (a common but decreasing occurence) it is not the owner's liability but the individual smoker. So its each smoker (who are mainly older men from what I can see) who takes the risk and a cafe owner can have 10 light up and not do much about it.

They are also striking a bit of resistance from the tobacco industry and outlets which is a state run monopoly.

"China, which consumes a third of the world's tobacco with a fifth of the population, must mediate between cutting health care costs and its financial stake in tobacco, which generated 240 billion yuan, or $31 billion, in taxes in 2005, according to a study at a Beijing University research center."

A ban on smoking in most public buildings has come into force in the Chinese capital, Beijing.

For every three cigarettes lit worldwide, one is smoked in China. Almost 25% of the Chinese smoke.

hc said...

I suppose that the 25% figure is that low because smoking is mainly a male activity. i think a lot more than 25% of chinese men smoke.

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