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Secondhand smoke exposure down since smoking ban, UW study says

Publication Date: 8/27/2012
  • Author:Mark Johnson
  • Publication:Milwaukee (WI) Journal-Sentinel

A new study shows secondhand smoke exposure has dropped since the state enacted a smoking ban in July 2010. But there does not yet appear to be evidence that the law has led to a reduction in smoking prevalence in Wisconsin, according to the peer-reviewed Wisconsin Medical Journal.

Data from the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin linked the law to a reduction in smoke exposure outside the home (from 55% to 32%) and inside the home (13% to 7%). The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Authors of the new study said that "smoke-free legislation in Wisconsin was associated with a statistically significant decline in reported exposure to tobacco smoke outside the home, inside the home and at work," among participants in the survey.

In 1999, a decade before the Wisconsin law, 55.3% of the state's households did not have smoking policies, according to an estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, after passage of the state's anti-smoking law, far more households have smoking policies; only 20.4% do not.

However, authors of the study said the state law did not appear to have been associated with a reduction in the prevalence of smoking or with any increase in the number of current smokers hoping to quit.

An earlier study by the university's Carbone Cancer Center found that the state law reduced the mean particulate matter in the air by 92%.

The state's 2010 law made all workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free...