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Do smoking bans really work?

With a wave of new restrictions, the smoke is starting to clear.

By Rich_Maloof Jun 4, 2013 5:50PM

All across the country, smoking bans have been picking up some serious momentum.

Smoking will be smothered in the sand this summer as bans go into effect on public beaches, including seaside spots in Delaware, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. On June 1, Starbucks instituted a ban within 25 feet of some 7,000 locations, imposing a trial separation on the long-term relationship between coffee and cigarettes.

Photo: A no smoking sign is posted in the pedestrian plaza located in Times Square May 23, 2011 in New York City last month. A new smoking law took effect in New York City Monday, prohibiting smokers from lighting up in certain public places including parks and beaches. (Photo by Daniel Barry/Getty Images)New bans and restrictions stretching from California, across the Plains and clear across to New York, are being voted into law. According to data from the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, 22,470 municipalities representing 81.3 percent of the U.S. population are covered by completely smoke-free provisions in workplaces, restaurants and/or bars.

It’s not just an American phenomenon, either. In Russia (the world’s second-largest tobacco market after China), a law enacted this past Saturday bans smoking in airports, railway stations, playgrounds, on busses, and at schools, universities and hospitals. They’re even clearing cigarette ads from public streets. Korea’s tourism board proudly announced a nationwide ban against smoking in public places last December. And some politicians in New Zealand have designs on making their country the world’s first entirely smoke-free nation.

Do the bans have a positive effect? Tobacco companies have maintained that smoke-free ordinances have a negative impact on businesses and tourism, though advocates cite studies adamantly refuting such claims, and other opponents of the bans call the legality of restricting outside smoking into question.

Smoking bans on the campuses of U.S. colleges and universities have prompted some vehement protests by students who see them as a constraint of personal freedom. Regardless, restrictive smoking policies in higher-ed communities indicate that bans can indeed yield measurable changes in people’s attitudes, with positive results in slashing smoking prevalence.

Back in 2008, a study was launched as Indiana University initiated a campus-wide smoke-free air policy. Researchers wanted to compare habits and attitudes at IU with those at nearby Purdue University, where smoking was allowed outside a 30-foot radius from buildings. Even though IU’s ban wasn’t strictly enforced, the ban served a secondary function as an awareness campaign. Within two years, the percentage of smokers at IU fell from 16.5 percent to 12.8 percent, while at Purdue the rate increased from 9.5 to 10.1 percent. Even among smokers, the average number of cigarettes smoked fell at IU and rose at Purdue.

An April 2013 publication from the ANR indicates that at least 1,159 campuses in the U.S. are currently 100 percent smoke-free.

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Photo: A no-smoking sign is posted in the pedestrian plaza located in Times Square  last month. A new smoking law took effect in New York City Monday, prohibiting smokers from lighting up in certain public places, including parks and beaches. (Photo by Daniel Barry/Getty Images)

Jun 29, 2013 4:12PM

Smoking bans....Okay, fair enough.  Big business cares about our health and well-being.  Right.  We all know it has to do with lowering health care costs.  Okay, still fair enough.


But, what about people who are overweight?  Will they ban everyone over a certain BMI next?  And then you have unmarried, sexually active people, what about them.  Multiple partners increases the risk of STD's including HIV infection.  Should companies force us to register our married, sexual partner too?  Driving too fast, sky-diving, mountain climbing?  Where will it end?


I say a business' interest in my behavior should begin and end at the time-clock/time-sheet.  That way it is fair to everyone.

Jun 10, 2013 3:05PM
don't live you life by what a sign says that's all im going to say.
Jun 7, 2013 11:08PM

Just wondering  if everyone quits who is going to pay the extra taxes they get from the cigarette smokers?


Jun 7, 2013 8:44PM
Literally could not care any less.  If it is a public area without "No Smoking" signs put up, I will light up when I want a cigarette. Period.
Jun 7, 2013 7:40PM
The problem with smoking is that when you insist on smoking around other people, you aren't just making the choice for you, but also for everyone in your vicinity.  I am WILDLY allergic to cigarette smoke and being forced to be in an enclosed area with a smoker, or even outdoors near a smoker on a day with no breeze, I can LITERALLY end up in the hospital ER.  I do not understand WHY kids these days ever start smoking.  They KNOW BETTER!  Idiots!
Jun 7, 2013 4:58PM

Smoking is really a big issue of annoyance for me. More than the fact that it killed my mom, it really DOES honestly, truly STINK. BAD. (Even worse than farts).  Since cigarette smoke really contains many known poisons (it's a fact, for those in denial), I don't want or need it in my airspace. I will keep saying this as a reminder--Do what you want with your own body and life, but keep all the various weed, drug, and chemical stenches to yourself. That's all there is to it. You DON'T need to share those; they're for your own use if that's what you want. It is sad that you want to destroy yourself, but it is your choice to make. I get that. What is NOT acceptable is trying to foist them on people who don't want them. Keep them to yourself. It's that simple, folks.



Jun 7, 2013 12:29AM
I wonder how much our law makers have spent "regulating" smokers really wake up people this is the kind of cost our country cannot afford!

Jun 6, 2013 3:50AM

If they do not want people to smoke in public, then it should not be legal to smoke anywhere. The government is taxing smokers for cigarettes more than boozers (alcoholics), which is about 90% of the people in the United States alone, more drinkers and nondrinkers die from alcoholic related Incidents every single day, but nobody wants to make drinking illegal again, do we? It will take about 50 years to die from cigarette smoking; but you can die hour after drinking. Until it is illegal to smoke in the United States of America, then people should be allowed to smoke anyplace they like.

 p.s. what going to happen to all the pot heads when weed becomes legal?

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