Would Victorian smokers find it easier to quit if bars and pubs were smokefree?

Letcher T, Black C, Lipscomb J, Wakefield M, Durkin S

CBRC Research Paper Series No. 10

Smokefree environment policies may reduce tobacco consumption and encourage quitting, especially among younger patrons. In this report we consider the potential impact on Victorian smokers’ behaviour of bans on smoking in hospitality venues, where smoking is currently restricted.

Using data from population surveys conducted among 2000 Victorian adults in 2000, 2001 and 2002, we report smokers’ predictions of their smoking behaviour (likelihood of quitting and/or cutting down) in the event of the introduction of smoking bans in hospitality venues, including hotels, bars, gaming venues and nightclubs.

In 2001, more than one-fifth of smokers reported they would be more likely to quit smoking altogether if total smoking bans were introduced in licensed hospitality venues such as hotels, bars and gaming venues; and in 2002 this was almost 30% of smokers. In 2002, amongst those who did not think they would quit altogether, 43% reported they were likely to reduce the amount they smoke.

Smokers were also asked about where they smoke most. Hospitality venues such as hotels/bars and nightclubs were among the three most common places for all smokers: hotels/bars were the main places reported by younger smokers, with nightclubs also nominated among the top four places for smokers in this age group.

The data suggest that a so far little-recognised benefit to the introduction of smokefree policies in hospitality venues may be to assist predominantly younger smokers to quit or to cut down their cigarette consumption.