According to a review of previous studies published in the British Medical Journal banning smoking in the workplace appears to encourage smokers to either cut down or kick their habit.
The report notes that totally smoke-free workplaces result in:
- 3.8% reduction in prevalence of smoking and
- 3.1 fewer cigarettes smoked per day per continuing smoker
In the study, co-authors Caroline M. Fichtenberg and Stanton A. Glantz of the University of California, San Francisco, looked at 26 previously published studies on smoke-free workplaces. They compared how the rate of smoking changed after businesses became smoke-free with the changes in smoking behavior that followed an increase in the cost of cigarettes due to taxation.
The report found that banning smoking in the workplace reduced smoking overall by an average of 1.4 cigarettes per day per employee, “which corresponds to a relative reduction of 29%”, according to Reuters.
To achieve similar reductions through taxation, the authors point out, the tax on a pack of cigarettes would need to be increased from the current rate of $0.75 cents to $3.05 in the US.
The study projected that if all workplaces declared themselves smoke-free, consumption per capita in the entire population would decrease by 4.5% in the US and 7.6% in the UK.
“While producing benefits for nonsmokers by eliminating passive smoking, smoke-free workplaces make it easier for smokers to reduce or stop smoking and substantially reduce tobacco industry sales,” the researchers said.