Ban on smoking in public doesn't help much

Ban on smoking in public doesn
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Ban On Smoking In Public Doesn\'t Help Much. Ban on smoking in public spaces may not motivate smokers to light up less behind their own closed doors or quit altogether, a new Canadian study has claimed.

Toronto: Ban on smoking in public spaces may not motivate smokers to light up less behind their own closed doors or quit altogether, a new Canadian study has claimed. With advance knowledge of a smoking ban in Quebec, Canada that took effect in May 2006, researchers were able to collect data from a representative cross-section of the population a month ahead of time. They then followed up a year and a half later. Researchers found no significant change in home habits in the aftermath of a ban.

Growing awareness of the health impact of secondhand smoke contributed to the stricter laws, although a number of those who kept puffing at home claimed to be trying to reduce nicotine exposure to others, even if those strategies for quitting are generally futile, researchers said.

"The popular belief is that opening windows or doors to blow out smoke makes it OK, when that's not the case," Sylvia Kairouz of Concordia University said. "People might be sensitive to the issues, but there was a lack of information about how the effects of second-hand smoke are transmitted," said Kairouz.

Greater inspiration to kick the habit likely comes from having friends or family who set an example by giving up cigarettes themselves, researchers said.

But trends over the past decade suggest a much broader range of factors have reduced the number of nicotine addicts beyond simply forcing smokers to huddle outdoors more often.

"There needs to be an integrated approach of ecological measures along with taxation, prevention and information," Kairouz said.

"But one of the most important components is to have public health services available for people who are trying to quit," Kairouz added.

The research was published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

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