Office nicotine snip pays off at home

Ripple effect

Indian adults are substantially more likely to abstain from smoking at home if they are prohibited from smoking at work, a new study has found.

According to data from the latest edition of Global Adult Tobacco Survey India, as many as 64 per cent of adults who work in smoke free environments live in a smoke-free home, compared with 42 per cent of those who work where smoking is permitted. The proportion of smoke free homes is higher in states with higher proportions of smoke free workplaces.

The authors of the study, from Imperial College London and the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), say the findings suggest implementation of smoke free legislation in India might have resulted in substantial health benefits for the population, particularly for women and children.

 “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 John Tayu Lee, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, who led the study, published in the journal Tobacco Control.

According to the survey, there are 110 million smokers in India. National legislation prohibiting smoking in public places and workplaces was introduced in 2008, but the law is not comprehensive as it permits designated smoking areas in large restaurants and hotels.

Enforcement of the law is highly variable and the penalty is a modest fine of 200 rupees. Nationally, 30 per cent of adults report being exposed to second-hand smoke at work, with 52 per cent exposed at home.

“They highlight the importance of accelerating the implementation of smoke-free legislation more widely in India.” said Christopher Millett, from the School of Public Health at Imperial college, who is also a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at PHFI.

 Studies in the US, Ireland and Scotland have found that implementation of comprehensive smoke-free laws has been associated with reduced second-hand smoke in homes, but there has been little information about whether these benefits exist in low and middle income countries.

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