Smoking bans in some countries have led to increased tobacco use at home. A new study of Wisconsin's smoke free law shows mixed results.
The study finds there is less exposure to smoke at home than before Wisconsin's 2010 workplace smoking ban. However, smokers may not be lighting up less, just choosing to do so outside the home. Dr. Javier Neito conducted the study. He's with UW Madison Department of Population Health Sciences. A previous study by the Carbone Cancer Center had shown the air quality in workplaces improved dramatically. Neito wanted to know if smoking BEHAVIOR changed. "Of course we expected there will be diminished exposure to smoking in public places and in workplaces, because that's what the law was aiming to do."
Wisconsin's law does not cover homes but it is apparently having an effect there. Nieto compared survey data from smokers and nonsmokers, before and after the ban. People exposed to smoke at home declined from 13 percent to 7 percent. More households had no-smoking policies after the state's ban. However, the study showed smoking prevalence did not decrease, and the number of cigarettes smoked per individual did not change.
Nieto says the study was done shortly after the law passed. He expects smoking will decrease in the future. "We didn't expect to see a change in such short time. Smoking behaviors are very ingrained. Those who have been smokers or are smokers know how hard it is to quit."
Data for the study came from the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin.