Smoking bans may help reduce smoking among young American men, a new study finds.
Researchers examined data from more than 4,300 people in 487 cities nationwide who were interviewed annually between 2004 and 2011 when they were aged 19 to 31.
Among young men who were light smokers and lived in areas with smoking bans, their rate of smoking in the past 30 days was 13 percent. It was 19 percent for young men in areas without such bans. Rates were the same (11 percent) for women in areas with and without smoking bans.
“These findings provide some of the most robust evidence to date on the impact of smoking bans on young people’s smoking,” said study co-author Mike Vuolo, an assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State University.
The researchers also found that the percentage of people in the study living in a city with a comprehensive smoking ban increased from almost 15 percent in 2004 to nearly 60 percent in 2011.
Smoking bans didn’t reduce or end smoking for people who smoked more than a pack a day when the bans began. But, bans did seem to prevent light smokers from becoming heavy smokers, the researchers said.
“We found that locations that have had a smoking ban for longer periods of time have fewer youth, regardless of gender, who are heavy smokers than other areas,” Vuolo said in a university news release.
The findings were published in the September issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.
The American Cancer Society offers a guide to quitting smoking.
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