Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Irish Smoking Ban Study -- Refuting a Common Argument

Ireland went smoke-free as an entire country in 2004. Now, three years later, a study by Cancer Research UK found that since the implementation of Ireland's smoke-free law, smoking has not increased in homes, an argument presented by the policy's opposition when it was passed. The policy's opponents argued that banning smoking in all workplaces would result in more smoking at home, thus endangering more children.

In reality, the general public understands the dangers of secondhand smoke, and even smokers themselves accept that it's dangerous to expose others to cigarette smoke's toxic chemicals -- so why would a smoke-free law prompt them to expose their own families to those poisons at higher levels? The study's answer: it doesn't. According to the study, 71% of Irish smokers said the 2004 smoke-free air law had no effect on their smoking habits at home. 22% of Irish smokers reported placing stricter restrictions on smoking in their home after the legislation's enactment.

Smoke-free air policies don't drive people to smoke at home -- they protect workers from secondhand smoke, positively impact an entire nation's health and encourage smokers to quit.

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