Banning smoking in outside areas would discourage social smokers from lighting up when they drink
Extending smoking ban legislation to include areas outside pubs and bars could help to curb the rise of social smoking, says new research.
A study has found that while the number of people smoking has dropped overall, the number of people who smoke intermittently and describe themselves as ‘social smokers’ has risen.
Campaigners have described people who light up on pavements and patios as ‘anti-social’ and argue that introducing a smoking ban on beer gardens could improve public health.
‘Introducing smoke-free outdoor bars could reduce social smoking by removing cues that stimulate this behaviour and changing the environment that facilitates it,’ says Professor Janet Hoek from the University of Otago in New Zealand.
During a study conducted at the University of Otago, researchers found that 12 out of 23 occasional smokers strongly supported the idea of banning smoking in outdoor areas, indicating that it would help them cut down or quit social smoking altogether.
Participants said that although smoking and drinking went ‘hand in hand’, they only smoked on nights out and considered themselves non-smokers.
‘This small study highlights some interesting points about what triggers social smokers to light up,’ says Jean King, Cancer Research UK’s Director of Tobacco Control, but more needs to be done to discourage smoking.
‘Given that a quarter of all cancer deaths are due to tobacco, Cancer Research UK believes one key measure that would reduce the attractiveness of smoking would be to remove all branding and colourful designs on packs.’