BOSTON - A Massachusetts study suggests that restaurant smoking bans may play a big role in persuading teens not to become smokers. Youths who lived in towns with strict bans were 40 percent less likely to become regular smokers than those in communities with no bans or weak ones, the researchers reported in the May issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
The findings back up the idea that smoking bans discourage tobacco use in teens by sending the message that smoking is frowned upon in the community, as well as simply by reducing their exposure to smokers in public places, said Dr. Michael Siegel, of Boston University School of Public Health, and the study's lead author.
"When kids grow up in an environment where they don't see smoking, they are going to think it's not socially acceptable," he said. "If they perceive a lot of other people are smoking, they think it's the norm."