Smoking bans in public places such as restaurants and offices lead people to smoke less at home, a new European study concludes.
The study included 4,600 smokers in four countries with smoke-free laws—France, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands, as well as 1,080 smokers in Britain, at a time when that country had no public smoke-free laws.
The study found that before smoke-free laws went into effect in those four countries, most smokers had at least partial restrictions on smoking in their homes. After the laws went into effect, the percentage of smokers who did not allow smoking in their home rose by 38 percent in Germany, 28 percent in the Netherlands, 25 percent in Ireland and 17 percent in France, Reuters reports.
In contrast, the percentage of smokers who banned smoking in their homes did not significantly increase in Britain.
Some critics of laws that ban smoking in public places argue that they will encourage people to smoke more at home, possibly increasing the exposure of children to secondhand smoke, the article notes. Researcher Ute Mons of the German Cancer Research Center said the study suggested the opposite is true. “On the contrary, our findings demonstrate that smoke-free legislation may stimulate smokers to establish total smoking bans in their homes,” she wrote in the journal Tobacco Control.