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26-03-2013 | Psychology | Article

Smoke-free workplaces improve home health


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medwireNews: Making workplaces smoke free encourages people to make their homes smoke free, suggest findings from an Indian study.

Using data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2009/2010, India, John Tayu Lee (Imperial College London, UK) and colleagues found that 64.0% of adults working in smoke-free indoor environments also had smoke-free homes, compared with only 41.7% of those working in environments where smoking occurred.

"This study suggests that, in India, there is good evidence that smoke-free laws in workplaces are associated with a reduction in second-hand smoke at home," said Lee in a press statement.

"The results support the idea of 'norm spreading', whereby restrictions on smoking in public places make it seem less acceptable to expose others to second-hand smoke more generally, including at home," co-author of the Tobacco Control paper and fellow Imperial College researcher Christopher Millett told the press.

The team also found that women were significantly more likely to report smoke-free homes than men, at 61.7% versus 56.4%. Additionally, urban households were more likely to be smoke free than those in rural areas, at 65.4% versus 49.0%.

Education also contributed, with 71.8% of college or university graduates reporting that they lived in a smoke-free home compared with 39.1% of those with no formal education.

Perhaps predictably, current smokers were less likely to live in a smoke-free home than nonsmokers, at 28.8% versus 63.4%.

When Lee and colleagues analyzed the survey results on a state-by-state basis, they discovered that states with more smoke-free workplaces had significantly more smoke-free homes.

Following adjustment for potential confounders, the researchers demonstrated that working in a smoke-free environment increased a person's chances for living in a smoke-free home 2.07-fold. This association was valid both for smokers and nonsmokers with the respective likelihoods increased 2.21- and 1.60-fold.

These findings "highlight the importance of accelerating the implementation of smoke-free legislation more widely in India," said Millett. Legislation against smoking in the workplace has existed since 2008, but the law is not comprehensive and allows smoking in large restaurants and hotels. Restrictions are also enforced in a very variable manner and the fines are only modest.

By Helen Albert, Senior medwireNews Reporter

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