ORIGIN: Community Guide systematic review
Publication Date: 12/07/2009
Tobacco use is a source of chronic and fatal illnesses for users and persons with secondary exposure. In the United States, cigarette smoking contributes to one in five deaths and costs more than $193 billion in annual lost productivity and healthcare expenditures. CDC: Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses—United States, 2000–2004.
Smoking bans and restrictions prohibit smoking in specified areas. These restrictions aim to eliminate or reduce exposure to second hand smoke. Smoking bans and restrictions are found in state and local laws as well as regulations governing workplace safety. For examples of state smoking regulations, see ARS 36-601.01 (Arizona), Utah Health Code § 26.83.3 (Utah), VT Health Code § 1742 (Vermont), and RI Health & Safety Code § 23-20.10-3 (Rhode Island).
In a systematic review, a Community Guide expert panel reviewed 10 studies that assessed the effectiveness of smoking bans and restrictions as means of reducing exposure to secondhand smoke in workplaces. Hopkins DP et al. Reviews of Evidence Regarding Interventions to Reduce Tobacco Use and Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke. Am J Prev Med 2001; 20(2S). Some of the underlying studies measured the impact of specific smoking restriction laws; others measured the impact of policies initiated and enforced by private entities. The reviewers identified reductions in self-reported exposure or actual nicotine vapor in 9 of the 10 studies. Reductions in vapor measures ranged from 44 percent to 97 percent.
An interactive map from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation gives policy-makers and advocates a nationwide picture of continuing state efforts on key tobacco control policies.
Additional Resources: Smoke-free Laws by State
A Public Health Law Research Program “Evidence Brief” summarizes the research assessing the effect of a specific law or policy on public health.
Evidence Briefs are prepared by the staff of the National Program Office. Briefs are based on systematic literature reviews conducted by highly-regarded scholars and published by credible organizations or peer-reviewed journals. Evidence Briefs digest the best available evidence, but readers should bear in mind that even the best evidence may have limitations or deficiencies.
The evidence briefs are organized by topic and intervention. Each law or policy is classified as “effective,” “uncertain” or “harmful,” according to the conclusions of the expert reviewers. These are not independent conclusions of the NPO, nor do they reflect the views of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Each Evidence Brief includes links to the study on which it is based. In many cases, the study is available in the public domain, but access to some may require a subscription.