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Smoke-Free Policies Reduce Smoking


Studies have shown that workplace smoking bans and restrictions can reduce the amount of daily smoking among workers and increase the number of employees who stop smoking.1,2,3 Studies have shown that challenging the perception of smoking as a normal adult behavior through smoke-free policies can change the attitudes and behaviors of adolescents. This can result in reducing the number of adolescents who start smoking.4

Selected Studies: Reduced Smoking Among Adults

Studies in:Found that:
20 U.S. and 2 Canadian communities (2005)1Employees who worked in places that maintained or implemented smoke-free policies were nearly twice as likely to stop smoking as employees who worked in places that allowed smoking everywhere.
New York City (2005)2Smoking prevalence among adults decreased from 21.6% to 19.2% (approximately 140,000 fewer smokers) following the implementation of a comprehensive smoke-free law, a cigarette tax increase, a media campaign, and a cessation initiative (involving free nicotine patches).
Australian, Canadian, German, and U.S. communities (2002)3A complete smoking ban in the workplace—
  • reduces smoking prevalence by 3.8% among employees who smoke, and
  • reduces daily smoking by 3.1 cigarettes (per smoker) among employees who continue to smoke.

Selected Studies: Reduced Smoking Among Youth

Studies in:Found that:
United States (2000)5Adolescents who work in smoke-free places are significantly less likely to be smokers than adolescents who work in places with no smoking restrictions or partial workplace smoking bans.
Massachusetts (2005)6Youth living in towns with laws making restaurants smoke-free were less likely* to become established smokers than youth who lived in towns with weak smoking restrictions.
*8% of youth from towns with weak restrictions and 4.9% of youth from towns with strong restrictions became established smokers.


  1. Bauer JE, Hyland A, Li Q, Steger C, Cummings KM. A Longitudinal Assessment of the Impact of Smoke-Free Worksite Policies on Tobacco Use. American Journal of Public Health 2005;95(6):1024–9 [cited 2011 Mar 11].
  2. Frieden TR, Mostashari F, Kerker BD, Miller N, Hajat A, Frankel M. Adult Tobacco Use Levels After Intensive Tobacco Control Measures: New York City, 2002—2003. American Journal of Public Health 2005;95(6):1016–23 [cited 2011 Mar 11].
  3. Fichtenberg CM, Glantz SA. Effect of Smoke-Free Workplaces on Smoking Behaviour: Systematic Review. British Medical Journal 2002;325(7357):188–94 [cited 2011 Mar 11].
  4. Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Guide to Community Preventive Services. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005 [accessed 2011 Mar 11].
  5. Farkas AJ, Gilpin EA, White MM, Pierce JP. Association Between Household and Workplace Smoking Restrictions and Adolescent Smoking. Journal of the American Medical Association 2000;284(6):717–22 [cited 2011 Mar 11].
  6. Siegel M, Albers AB, Cheng DM, Biener L, Rigotti NA. Effect of Local Restaurant Smoking Regulations on Progression to Established Smoking Among Youths. Tobacco Control 2005;14(5):300–6 [cited 2011 Mar 11].

For Further Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Office on Smoking and Health
Phone: 1-800-CDC-INFO

Media Inquiries: Contact CDC's Office on Smoking and Health press line at 770-488-5493.

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