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Smoke exposure drops, no-smoking policies in households increase after smoke-free law, journal article says

Release Date: August 27, 2012
Contact: Lisa Hildebrand - 608.442.3765 lisa.hildebrand@wismed.org

Madison — Secondhand smoke exposure has decreased and no-smoking policies in households have increased since Wisconsin’s smoke-free legislation was enacted in July 2010, according to a report in the current issue of WMJ (vol. 111, no. 4). Using data from the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW), researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health reported that the smoking ban was associated with a reduction in exposure to smoke outside the home (from 55 percent to 32 percent) and at home (from 13 percent to 7 percent) among respondents.

The researchers compared smoking histories of SHOW participants from 2008 to 2010 with those of participants after 2009 Wisconsin Act 12 was enacted on July 5, 2010. In the short time since its implementation, “smoke-free legislation in Wisconsin was associated with a statistically significant decline in reported exposure to tobacco smoke outside the home, inside the home and at work among SHOW participants,” the report said.

Smoke-free legislation also was associated with an increase in prevalence of no-smoking policies in the households of Wisconsin residents. According to the study, only 20.4 percent of households in Wisconsin did not have a strict no-smoking policy after 2009 Wisconsin Act 12 went into effect. In 1999, 55.3 percent of Wisconsin households did not have smoking policies, according to an estimate provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The main findings of this study are that smoke-free legislation in Wisconsin increased the number of participants who reported having strict no-smoking policies in their households and decreased reported exposure to tobacco smoke outside the home, inside the home and at work,” the report said. “If such results are maintained in the future, it is likely that smoke-free legislation can play a significant role in reducing the incidence of tobacco-related illnesses and in improving overall health outcomes.”

Published by the Wisconsin Medical Society, WMJ is devoted to the interests of the medical profession and health care in the Midwest. The peer-reviewed publication, which is available in print and electronic format, is one of the few state medical society-sponsored medical journals that publish a large amount of original research and academic content.