Over the last two decades, nearly half of U.S. states have banned smoking in places like restaurants, bars, and the workplace, but are these anti-smoking regulations effective at deterring people from the nasty habit of smoking?
According to the CDC, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for nearly half a million deaths every year. Despite the scary stats, they estimate 15 percent of American adults still choose to light up.
However, those numbers may be less in certain parts of the country says a new study that found states with harsh anti-smoking laws have less e-cig and regular cigarette smokers than those states with more lax smoking regulations.
Tougher Laws Means Less Smokers
Unlike in the past, the dangers and health risks of smoking are well known today which has led to the institution of varying types of smoking bans across the United States.
In addition to a slight raise on cigarette taxes, a number of states, such as California, have passed legislation raising the legal age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21 as part of anti-smoking measures banning the sale of tobacco products to anyone under age.
Not to mention, more than half of U.S. states have enacted indoor clean air act laws, forbidding smoking in public spaces. But how much have these measures impacted the rate of smokers?
As it turns out, anti-smoking regulations may be just the thing needed to put an end to the dangerous smoking trend finally. A new paper, published in the Oxford Academic, found that states that promote smoke-free laws, such as California and Oregon, showed lower rates of both traditional cigarettes and e-cigs than states without anti-smoking measures in place.
Smoking Bans Proven to Save Lives
This news doesn’t represent the first-time research has shown the benefits of imposing anti-smoking laws. As reported by CNN, raising the legal smoking age to 21 nationwide would result in roughly a quarter million fewer premature deaths and 50,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer for those born between 2000 and 2019.
Anti-smoking laws may also mean less cardiac events and hospitalizations says a 2012 study published in the journal Circulation, which examined the impact of smoke-free legislation on health.
In the paper, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) researchers analyzed the combined results of 45 previous studies that focused on anti-smoking laws worldwide and their impact on health. The study found that areas that restrict public smoking saw a substantial decline in both hospital admissions and deaths from a variety of smoking-related causes, including heart disease, stroke, and many lung conditions.
Smoker-Friendly States Still Exist
Despite the growing body of research that points to the benefits of anti-smoking laws, some states have yet to jump on board.
As CBS reported, smokers can light up pretty much anywhere including nearly 95 percent of the bars in Alabama. And not only did Indiana state lawmakers recently block a smoke-free bill, but they’re also considering eliminating the state’s tobacco prevention program.
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