Workplace bans help smokers kick the habit

Quit rates double where smoking bans in force

Smokers who work in a smoke-free environment are twice as likely to quit as those who work where there aren't any smoking restrictions, according to a new Statistics Canada study.

The study, Smoking bans: Influence on smoking prevalence, found in the past decade, smokers in newly smoke-free workplaces were more likely to quit over the next two years than smokers with no restrictions at work.

Among smokers whose workplaces had become smoke-free during the survey period, 27 per cent had quit two years later. This compares with 13 per cent among those who continued to face no restrictions at work.

Smoking bans on the rise

In 2005, the vast majority of employed smokers faced at least some restrictions at work, with smoking completely banned (42 per cent), allowed only in designated areas (37 per cent), or restricted only in certain places (nine per cent).

Just 12 per cent of employed smokers encountered no smoking restrictions in 2006, compared with 24 per cent in 1998. Smokers in white-collar and sales and services jobs were more likely to report total bans than were workers in blue-collar occupations.

Smoking bans lead to reduced cigarette consumption

Smokers in workplaces where smoking was totally banned averaged 12 cigarettes a day; those encountering partial bans, 14 a day; and those with no workplace restrictions, 17 a day.

Smokers whose workplaces went from no restrictions to total bans averaged 2.1 fewer cigarettes a day two years later, while the average daily cigarette consumption of smokers still facing no workplace restrictions did not change.

The study used data from the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey and the National Population Health Survey.

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