Study: Workplace Smoking Ban Helps Workers Cut Back

Workplace smoking bans may be aimed at keeping non-smokers happy, but a new Canadian study suggests it helps smokers as well. Using data from Statistics Canada's 2001 Canadian Community Health Survey, the study showed that 24% of employed adult Canadians are daily smokers who smoke an average of 17 cigarettes daily. However, in workplaces where smoking is banned, 18% of workers smoke daily, with an average consumption of 15.4 cigarettes daily. By contrast, in workplaces without smoking bans, 40% of workers smoke daily and average 20.1 cigarettes per day. "A lot of people assume smokers in smoke-free workplaces compensate for being without cigarettes while at work by smoking more at lunch, during breaks or after work, but overall they don't. People are more likely to cut down or to give up cigarettes," says Dr. Thomas Stephens, a principal investigator at the University of Toronto's Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, which did the study. While the study relied on Canadian statistics, it has U.S. implications as well, Stephens says. "There's no reason the dynamics wouldn't be the same in any workplace."

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