Smoke-free restaurant laws may discourage youths from smoking

May 1, 2008

Young people who live in towns where regulations ban smoking in restaurants may be less likely to become established smokers, Michael Siegel, MD, MPH, of Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues reported (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 162:477-483, 2008).

Young people who live in towns where regulations ban smoking in restaurants may be less likely to become established smokers, Michael Siegel, MD, MPH, of Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues reported (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 162:477-483, 2008). They studied 3,834 Massachusetts youths who were age 12 to 17 at the first interview. The youths were interviewed again 2 and 4 years later.

During the study period, 9.3% became established smokers: 9.6% living in towns with weak restaurant smoking regulations, 9.8% in towns with medium regulations, and 7.9% in towns with strong regulations. Smoking bans may influence youth by reducing their exposure to smokers in public places and altering the perceived social acceptability of smoking, the authors said.