Schools Get Smoked Out

Smoking ban helps lower second hand smoke and changes attitudes

(RxWiki News) As many have heard, smoking is not good for you and neither is second-hand smoke. Schools are now taking a stand and banning smoking around campus but does it actually help?

It is time for administrators and officials to do something about the college student smoking rate which is as high as 20 percent. Encouraging smoking bans might just do the trick, researchers believe.

"Smoking bans should be enforced at all schools and universities."

Dong-Chul Seo, Ph.D., an associate professor at Indiana University in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation department, found that students not only smoked less, but their attitudes actually changed as well.

The percentage of students who smoked at Indiana University (IU) is now 12.8 percent- that’s a reduction of 3.7 percentage points. The researchers also found the number of cigarettes decreased.

More importantly, perceptions of smoking changed. The number of people who thought smoking was okay and should be allowed decreased, while the percentage of students who thought smoking should be regulated in public places increased to 82.1 percent.

The two year study included students from Indiana University, where a smoking ban was lightly enforced, and students from Purdue University, who had no smoking ban. The study ended in 2009.

Even though the exact element of the campus-wide smoke-free air policy that contributed to the positive changes in smoking rates isn't known, having a policy like that does seem to have an influence on students, Seo says.

Positive results were seen even though the smoke-free air policy was not actively enforced, Seo says, people were seen smoking on a regular basis. However, there was increased awareness by signage, media coverage and a campus bus wrapped with an anti-tobacco message, he adds.

These results are encouraging for universities looking into stronger tobacco control policies, Seo comments.

The observational study was presented in the journal Preventive Medicine.

Review Date: 
September 15, 2011