Married women with children have benefited the most from the UK public smoking ban, according to researchers.
Smoking has been forbidden in enclosed public spaces like pubs and restaurants following bans in 2006 in Scotland and in 2007 in England.
“Our findings suggest the welfare impact of public smoking bans should not be limited solely to smokers”
The study, led by Lancaster University, looked at people’s own assessments of their psychological wellbeing both before and after the introduction of the bans using a quasi-experimental design.
The researchers analysed data from the British Household Panel Survey to estimate the impact of the bans on the self-reported wellbeing of smokers, occasional smokers and non-smokers.
Married women with children reported the largest increase in wellbeing following the smoking bans, but there was no comparable increase for married men with children.
There were also increases in happiness among married men who quit smoking after the ban and both men and women who had never smoked, regardless of whether their partner smoked or not. The findings were published in the Scottish Journal of Political Economy.
Lead study author Dr Eugenio Zucchelli said: “We find that public smoking bans appear to have a statistically significant short-term positive impact on the wellbeing of married individuals, especially among women with dependent children.”
“Overall, our findings appear to suggest that the welfare impact of public smoking bans should not be limited solely to smokers but could also be extended to partners and family members of smokers,” he added.