A startling 4 out 10 recent quitters have stated smokefree bars and clubs helped them quit, according to new research released today.
The data, from The Cancer Council Victoria, also showed of those Victorians continuing to smoke, a third report that they had reduced the amount they smoke following the introduction of smokefree hospitality venues on July 1 last year.
Younger smokers' cigarette consumption appeared to be more influenced by the smoking bans, with 45% of 18 to 29 year old smokers reporting that they are smoking less following the bans than they used to.
Executive Director of Quit Victoria said the results were a ringing endorsement of smokefree environments.
"July 1st last year was truly a landmark public health event with an overwhelming majority of adults, and a considerable proportion of Victorian smokers, approving of smokefree pubs and clubs."
"This data shows the positive consequences of the smoking bans include not only a reduction in exposure to second-hand smoke for hospitality workers and patrons, but also the potential to reduce smoking rates and consumption, with no negative impact on patronage to hospitality venues."
Ms Sharkie said making bars and clubs smokefree was not only a motivating factor for a quit attempt, but also made the quitting process easier by removing the temptation to smoke.
"Before the introduction of these bans a person may have gone into a bar or club environment and seen smoking as an ordinary and, in some cases, encouraged behaviour, but now the reputation of these venues as ‘nicotine classrooms' is well and truly a thing of the past."
Key research findings include:
- Of those who had quit in the past 12 months, 40% report smoking bans had helped them quit
- 33% of current smokers reported a decrease in consumption following the ban
- More 18-29 year olds report they are smoking less following the bans than they used to compared with 30 to 49 year olds and those 50 years and older (45% compared with 32% and 24% respectively)
Ms Sharkie said the success of smokefree bars and clubs signalled it was time to move to new initiatives to reduce the toll of smoking in Victoria.
"The State Government is developing a new 5-year strategy to reduce Victorian smoking rates. This presents a huge opportunity to take the next logical and meaningful action by banning tobacco displays in shops and extending smokefree areas to include cars when children are present, smoking on primary and secondary school grounds and smoking on hospital grounds and healthcare facilities."