Smoking Bans Prompt ‘Spur of the Moment’ Quitting

As it turns out, measures to discourage smoking at work and at home can lead many women to suddenly decide to kick the habit, even if they had not been planning to do so.

Researchers found that bans on smoking in the workplace and living where it is frowned upon or banned makes a difference, as even those who did not make explicit plans to quit were more likely to attempt quitting.

Researchers called the difference a “spur-of-the-moment” factor. That is, the bans are associated with a person deciding to stop smoking without having planned or consciously created an intention to quit in advance.

The new study reviewed findings from a national survey of 7,610 women who work outside the home, 81 percent of whom said they smoked daily.

Twenty percent of women with home and work smoking bans said they intended to quit smoking, compared with 14 percent of those with work bans only, 20 percent with home bans only and 14 percent with smoking bans in neither place.

Smoking Bans Prompt ‘Spur of the Moment’ Quitting

Smoking Bans Prompt ‘Spur of the Moment’ Quitting

Yet, even women who said they had no intentions of quitting still made spontaneous attempts to quit, the study found, and a home ban appeared to have a slightly larger effect than a work ban.

“This is good news because smoke-free policies in the home may have an effect on increasing quit attempts regardless of motivation to quit,” said Allison Rose, M.H.S., lead study author.

The study appears in the September-October issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.

The main goal of smoking bans is to keep people from harm from secondhand smoke, said Bill Blatt, director of tobacco programs at the American Lung Association.

Getting smokers to stop smoking is an added benefit of the bans, he added.

It is not surprising that home bans are associated with more quit attempts because both are personal or family decisions, compared to workplace bans that an employee might have no control over, Blatt said. Someone who creates a home smoking ban usually is going to follow through on it, he said.

“Yet, less than one-third of our population of working women smokers reported that they work and live in smoke-free environments,” Rose said.

“This suggests we have a lot more work to do to make sure that all women have full protection from secondhand smoke at both work and home.”

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