An unexpected ripple effect has been registered following the anti-smoking laws that prohibit smoking in offices. A new study suggests that even though teens are not usual actors in an office setting, it turns out they are deterred from taking up the habit themselves.
An extensive 11-year study found a connection between smoke-free workplace laws and a significant decrease in the chances that teenagers and young adults would start smoking. At the same time, researchers also saw a link between smoke-free bar laws and a lower number of smoking days for youth who had already picked up the habit.
Leading author Stanton A. Glantz of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education of the University of California, San Francisco, is aware that this was the result of a mixture of factors, including cigarette taxes, smoking restrictions, and other independent effects.
Reports and analyses show that laws that prohibit smoking at the workplace had the same effect on smoking initiation as would a $1.57 tax on cigarettes. Experts agree that raising taxes is the most effective measure when it comes to discouraging youth from starting the habit.
Researchers based their conclusions on data collected from 1997 to 2007 by the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Back then, about 4,000 were followed, with ages ranging from 12 to 18 years at the beginning of the study.
In 1997, the first interview established whether or not the subject had ever smoked a cigarette. Annual follow-up meetings would pose the same question where participants had to report on their smoking behavior since the previous interview. If the answer was positive for smoking, researchers also inquired about how much they smoked in the past 30 days.
The volunteers’ answers were then cross-referenced with state level cigarette taxes, as well as smoke-free laws. As it turns out, smoke-free bar laws did not seem to have an influence on smoking initiation, whereas smoke-free workplace laws had an effect of 30 percent on the phenomenon.
Glantz has a theory about that; he said that teenagers look up to adults. When they see the grown-ups rejecting smoking, that sends a strong message that smoking is out, instead of perpetrating the idea that ‘smoking makes you look cool.’