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Effect of smoking regulations in local restaurants on smokers’ anti-smoking attitudes and quitting behaviours
  1. Alison B Albers1,
  2. Michael Siegel1,
  3. Debbie M Cheng2,
  4. Lois Biener3,
  5. Nancy A Rigotti4
  1. 1Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2Biostatistics Department, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  3. 3Center for Survey Research, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  4. 4General Medicine Division and Tobacco Research and Treatment Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr A Albers
 Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, Boston University School of Public Health, 715 Albany Street, TW2, Boston, MA 02118, USA; aalbers{at}bu.edu

Abstract

Objective: To examine the effect of smoking regulations in local restaurants on anti-smoking attitudes and quitting behaviours among adult smokers.

Design: Hierarchical linear modelling (HLM) was used to assess the relationship between baseline strength of town-level restaurant smoking regulation and follow-up (1) perceptions of the social acceptability of smoking and (2) quitting behaviours.

Setting: Each of the 351 Massachusetts towns was classified as having strong (complete smoking ban) or weak (all other and no smoking restrictions) restaurant smoking regulations.

Subjects: 1712 adult smokers of Massachusetts aged ⩾18 years at baseline who were interviewed via random-digit-dial telephone survey in 2001–2 and followed up 2 years later.

Main outcome measures: Perceived social acceptability of smoking in restaurants and bars, and making a quit attempt and quitting smoking.

Results: Among adult smokers who had made a quit attempt at baseline, living in a town with a strong regulation was associated with a threefold increase in the odds of making a quit attempt at follow-up (OR = 3.12; 95% CI 1.51 to 6.44). Regulation was found to have no effect on cessation at follow-up. A notable, although marginal, effect of regulation was observed for perceiving smoking in bars as socially unacceptable only among smokers who reported at baseline that smoking in bars was socially unacceptable.

Conclusions: Although local restaurant smoking regulations did not increase smoking cessation rates, they did increase the likelihood of making a quit attempt among smokers who had previously tried to quit, and seem to reinforce anti-social smoking norms among smokers who already viewed smoking in bars as socially unacceptable.

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethical approval: This research was approved by the institutional review boards at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and the Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

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