New Zealand - smoking ban in bars results in less smoking at home..

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November 17, 2009 - A ban on smoking in bars and pubs has prompted many New Zealanders to stop smoking at home, Ministry of Health research shows.

Next month will mark six years since the passing of smoke-free legislation that bans smoking in indoor work environments such as clubs, casinos, bars and restaurants. The ban became in force in December 2004 and New Zealand became the third country in the world after Ireland and Norway to ban smoking in pubs and restaurants. The legislation extends a 1990 ban on smoking in offices, shops and public buildings to pubs, clubs, restaurants, casinos and school grounds. (New Zealand introduces new smoking ban;, 12/10/2004)

A ministry expert on tobacco, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, says one of the positive spin-offs of the law has been that the number of smoke-free homes has dramatically increased. He attributes the trend to a change in attitude – "People started thinking, `I can't smoke in the pub so I won't smoke in my home'."

Bloomfield says the law's main objective – to reduce workers' exposure to second-hand smoke – has been achieved.

A report evaluating the law's effectiveness and impact across various sectors shows exposure to second-hand smoke in the home decreased from 20% in 2003 to 9% in 2006. And the cultural shift, which has seen smoking become less socially acceptable, has seen smoking rates fall year on year.

Ministry of Health research shows there was an initial spike in supermarket liquor sales after the change in smoking laws, and a moderate drop in retail sales for bars and pubs, but this was not sustained.

"We already had a ban on smoking in office spaces so we were extending that to blue collar facilities like bars and restaurants. There was a bit of difference between Maori and non-Maori exposure in the workplace. We got rid of these quite stark inequalities."

The 2006 figures showed the number of workers exposed to smoke fell to 8% from 20%. Importantly, the numbers of non-smoking young people continues to rise, with half of teens aged 15-19 years now saying they have never even tried a puff of a cigarette compared to 39% in 2006.

Bloomfield said: "The social environment and the social context has changed... "When this legislation was passed there was 50% public support for extending the smoke-free ban into the bars. Support went from under 50% to 82% within two years. Even two-thirds of smokers supported that full ban. The interesting thing is how quickly the public appreciate [being] smoke-free."

Reference: Pub ban stubs out smoking at home by LEIGH VAN DER STOEP, Sunday Star Times -, 11/15/2009.

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