The introduction of smokefree laws in Victoria would inspire many younger smokers to quit and encourage others to smoke less, research released today has shown.
The *study, from the Cancer Council of Victoria, revealed 28% of smokers are somewhat or very likely to quit smoking altogether if smoking is banned in pubs, clubs and gambling venues.
A further 43% of smokers reported that it was somewhat or very likely that they would smoke less if smoking were banned in pubs and clubs.
Executive Director of Quit, Todd Harper, said results showing bans would help many smokers, particularly the young, to quit would strengthen the community wide call to ensure a smokefree Victoria.
""We are all familiar with the serious health concerns of passive smoking in bars and clubs, and recent research has shown us that 70% of Victorians want to see smoking bans in place within the next six months, "" said Mr Harper
“Let's not forget about the tremendous potential of smoking bans in pubs and clubs to help smokers quit or reduce their tobacco consumption,” said Mr Harper.
“The evidence is clear that by making bars and clubs smokefree there is a tremendous opportunity to help people quit, or even prevent them from taking up smoking in the first place.”
“Each year smoking kills around 4700 Victorians. From a public health point of view it is unacceptable to ignore this opportunity to reduce smoking amongst young people,” said Mr Harper.
Results from the study revealed 52% of young people who smoke more than 5 cigarettes a day, smoke most in bars and clubs. Following close behind, 43% of young people who smoke less than 5 cigarettes a day, smoked most in bars and clubs.
“Almost 30% of smokers said they were more likely to quit with the introduction of complete bans on smoking in bars and clubs.”
“Combine this with the fact that bars and clubs are such popular places for younger people to smoke and there is little doubt of the positive impact of smoking bans on the number of people quitting and on smoking behaviours in general,” said Mr Harper.
Mr Harper said that a recent survey carried out for the National Smokers’ Quitline in Ireland showed that almost 7000 smokers who have contacted the national quitline have stopped smoking and 10 000 have reduced their cigarette consumption, since similar bans were implemented.
“Out of those surveyed in Ireland almost four out of ten people who quit smoking said the new bans had a significant or important impact on their decision to quit, and over half said it was an important aspect in terms of staying off cigarettes.”
“Now is time to follow the example of the Irish and create and maintain smokefree environments that help people quit, and more importantly stay off, cigarettes,” said Mr Harper
* Letcher T, Black C, Lipscomb J, Wakefield M, Durkin S. Would Victorian smokers find it easier to quit if bars and pubs were smokefree? CBRC Research Paper Series No. 10. Melbourne, Australia: Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, The Cancer Council Victoria, October 2004 .
The research paper is available online at www.cancervic.org.au/cbrc-papers/rps10-2004.pdf
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