Smoking bans in public places are prompting smokers to implement their own “home bans” also.
According to research published online in Tobacco Control, an increasing number of smokers stamped out the practice in their own home after public bans came into force.
Surveying 4,634 smokers in Ireland, France, Germany and the Netherlands, both before and after bans came into place, researchers found that after the bans came in there was a rise in all countries in the proportion of people banning smoking at home.
The proportion rose 25% in Ireland, 17% in France, 38% in Germany and 28% in the Netherlands.
The team noted than before a ban came into force, most smokers had at least partial restrictions on smoking at home. Important factors determining the level of restriction included young children and support for a smoking ban.
Researchers carried out surveys between 2003-4 and 2008-9 depending on when bans took effect.
They found home smoking bans were more likely to be imposed by those who supported a smoking ban in bars, when the smoker planned to give up or when there was a birth of a child.
The findings call into question an argument commonly put forward by opponents of public smoking bans - that they increase smoking in the home.
The researchers said: “Opponents of workplace or public smoking bans have argued that smoke-free policies - albeit intended to protect non-smokers from tobacco smoke - could lead to displacement of smoking into the home and hence even increase the second-hand smoke exposure of non-smoking family members and, most importantly, children.
“In fact, banning smoking in public places “may stimulate smokers to establish total smoking bans in their homes.”