Studies have shown that sales have not declined in bars and restaurants after implementation of the smoking ban.
Tobacco policies need to be enforced. Otherwise, people will ignore the rules. As an example, research has shown that compliance checks and fines for storeowners have been effective in preventing sales of tobacco to underage youth.
Policies that work
1. Smoking bans in public places
As more and more evidence is found linking secondhand smoke to medical problems, the need for smoke free environments has become obvious. Smoking bans in public places protect non-smokers from secondhand smoke and reduce tobacco consumption.
Maryland’s Clean Indoor Air Act, which banned smoking in all public places, went into effect on February 1, 2008. Simply separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate the exposure of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke. Therefore, smoke-free policies are the only effective way to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke. Contrary to the arguments of many who disagreed with the law, businesses like bars and restaurants did not lose business, and some actually experienced increases in customers because of the new law.
Several studies have shown that, compared to youth living in towns with partial indoor smoking bans, youth in towns with complete indoor smoking bans had less than half the odds of becoming regular smokers. Studies have also found that implementing smoke-free laws is associated with rapid improvements in a number of health outcomes among workers: reductions in respiratory and sensory symptoms, improvements in lung function, improved quality of life among people with asthma and a decrease in the number of hospital stays for heart attack victims.
2. Smoking bans in the workplace
Smoking bans and restrictions in workplaces lead to reductions in daily use of cigarettes (by about 3) and increases in quitting among workers.
By challenging the idea that smoking is normal adult behavior, smoke-free policies can change the attitudes and behaviors of adolescents, resulting in less tobacco use overall.
A national study found that adolescents who work in smoke-free places are less likely to be smokers than adolescents who work in places with no smoking restrictions or only a partial ban.
3. Tax and price increases
Studies show that higher cigarette taxes are one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking. In the U.S., every 10% increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by about 7% and overall cigarette use by about 4%. As of January 1, 2008, Maryland’s tobacco tax doubled from $1 to $2 per pack of cigarettes, making $5.52 the new average cost per pack in the state.
4. Fire-safe cigarettes
Fire-safe cigarettes are an easy way to eliminate many of the risks of cigarette-ignited fires. The National Fire Protection Association reports that 700-900 people die each year in fires caused by smoking. As of July 1, 2008, Maryland enacted a law that requires tobacco companies to sell only “self-extinguishing” cigarettes, which are less likely to burn when left unattended. This may help prevent tens of thousands of cigarette-ignited fires each year.
5. Environmental benefits
• You’ll be putting less pollution into the air
• You’ll have less risk of an accident while driving
Alamar, B & Glantz, S. (2007). Effect of smoke-free laws on bar value and profits. American Journal of Public Health. 97(8), pages 1400-1405.
Americans for Non Smokers Rights. U.S. Colleges and Universities with Smoke Free Air Policies. Retrieved October 31, 2007 from http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/smokefreecollegesuniversities.pdf.
Americans for Nonsmokers Rights. Smoke Free Status of Restaurants and Bars around the World. Retrieved October 31, 2007 from http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/internationalbarsandrestaurants.pdf.
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. State Cigarette Prices, Taxes, and Costs Per Pack. Retrieved November 9, 2007 from http://tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0207.pdf
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Raising Cigarette Taxes Reduces Smoking, Especially Among Kids (And the Cigarette Companies Know It). Retrieved October 31, 2007 from http://tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0146.pdf.
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. State Cigarette Excise Tax Rates and Rankings. Retrieved October 31, 2007 from http://tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0097.pdf.
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Enforcing Laws Prohibiting Cigarette Sales to Kids Reduces Youth Smoking. Retrieved October 31, 2007 from http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0049.pdf.