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Smoking Bans May Cause Employees to Quit the Habit

November 1, 2004
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A new study suggests that workplace smoking bans are causing employees to cut back on the habit, rather than just finding other places to smoke.

The University of Toronto’s Ontario Tobacco Research Unit finds that in workplaces with smoking bans, 18 percent of employees smoke at least once a day--and puff up on about 15 cigarettes. In companies without a ban, 40 percent of employees smoke, and average about 20 cigarettes.

"A lot of people assume smokers in smoke-free workplaces compensate for being without cigarettes while at work by smoking more at lunch, during breaks or after work--but overall they don’t," says the University of Toronto’s Thomas Stephens. "People are more likely to cut down or to give up cigarettes."

The University of Toronto surveyed adults between ages 20 and 64. The results were "controlled," so that they weren’t influenced by such factors as stress, depression or attempts to quit smoking.

More information is available online, including case studies in managing health costs; a workplace-wellness checklist; as well as information from an attorney on smoking bans.

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