By Gillian Tsoi
The smoking ban introduced in Ireland nearly eight years ago has led to less smoking at home, according to a new European study.
After the workplace smoking legislation was introduced, there was 25% increase in the number of smokers in Ireland who banned smoking in their homes.
Researchers found that home smoking bans were more likely to occur if the smoker planned to quit smoking, when there was a birth of a child, and if the smoker supported the public smoking ban.
It is widely believed that public smoking bans either cause an increase in the amount of smoking at home as smokers try to compensate or encourage smokers to enforce the same restrictions at home.
However, the recent study supports the latter theory.
"Opponents of workplace or public smoking bans have argued that smoke-free policies, albeit intended to protect non-smokers from tobacco smoke, could lead to displacement of smoking into the home and hence even increase the second hand smoke exposure of non-smoking family members and, most importantly, children," according to the the researchers.
For the study, researchers focused on four European countries - Ireland, Germany, France, the Netherlands - before and after smoking bans were implemented.
The percentage of smokers who banned smoking at home after the smoking ban was introduced increased significantly in all of the countries: 17% in France, 38% in Germany and 28% in the Netherlands.
Participating in the study were 4634 smokers in the four countries with smoke free legislation. In addition, 1080 smokers in the UK were also surveyed - this served as comparison country at a time when no public or workplace smoking ban had come into force.
The findings were based on two waves of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project) Europe Surveys. The surveys were conducted between 2003/4 and 2008/9, depending on when the bans took effect.
The results were published online in the Tobacco Control journal.
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