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Smoking ban gets strong backing from Irish smokers

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by Cancer Research UK | News

27 June 2006

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Support for the smoking ban in Ireland is 30 per cent higher among smokers since the new law banning smoking in public places came into effect – according to a new survey published online in Tobacco Control.

Support for the total ban in restaurants has increased from 45 to 77 per cent among smokers and in bars and pubs support increased from 13 per cent to 46 per cent.

In addition almost 50 per cent of Irish smokers reported that the law had made them more likely to give up smoking.

In a separate study, also published by the same journal, the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey showed that smokers who supported the ban were more likely to ban smoking in their own homes, more likely to try to quit and more likely to succeed.

Two separate questionnaires, sent over seven months to more than 9000 smokers in the UK, Australia, Canada and North America, found that the main incentives for smokers to have smoke-free homes correlated with having children, sharing a house with non-smoking adults and supporting bans in public places.

The questionnaires, which covered a range of issues about smoking, showed that smokers who wanted to quit were also likely to have smokefree homes.

In the UK smokefree homes among smokers increased from 15 to 19 per cent and in Australia from 34 per cent to 43 per cent over the seven month period.

Professor Gerard Hastings, Cancer Research UK’s tobacco marketing expert, said: “If we take these two studies together it is clear that once the ban is in place, as it is in Ireland, support for it among smokers soars. The second study shows that smokers who support the public ban are likely to make their own homes smoke free.

“This shows that a smoking ban in public places actually leads to more smokefree homes not fewer as has been claimed by a House of Lords committee. We now have further evidence to contradict those who claim that by banning smoking in pubs we are driving it into private homes.

“Furthermore smoke free legislation encourages smokers to try and quit and increases their chance of succeeding. In short it’s a double plus for public health.”

Professor John Toy, medical director of Cancer Research UK, says: “These international studies show that smokefree public places stimulates the adoption of smokefree homes and encourages smokers to kick the habit once and for all.

For media enquiries contact Sally Staples at the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 7061 8300, or the out of hours duty press officer on 07050 264059.

Notes to editor

Smoking is the biggest single cause of cancer in the world.

In the UK tobacco:

  • causes over one in four cancer deaths
  • causes nine out of ten cases of lung cancer

Smoking increases your risk of cancer of the bladder, cervix, kidney, larynx (voice box), mouth, oesophagus (foodpipe), pancreas, stomach and some types of leukaemia. Smokeless or chewing tobacco can cause mouth cancer. Half of all smokers die from smoking related diseases.

Smoking also causes heart disease, stroke and chronic lung diseases such as bronchitis and emphysema.

Smokers are two to three times more likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers. And for women, smoking whilst taking the Pill greatly increases your risk of having a heart attack.

Smoking in the UK

Over a quarter of UK adults smoke cigarettes. Smoking is highest amongst those aged 20-34 and in lower income groups. The worrying reality is that almost as many young people are starting to smoke as there are older people giving up. Breathing in other people’s smoke also causes 700 premature deaths a year in the UK.

Smoking kills five times more people in the UK than road accidents, overdoses, murder, suicide and HIV all put together.

Reasons to quit

There is no safe level of tobacco use. Your risk of getting lung cancer increases with:

  • the more years you continue to smoke
  • the more cigarettes you smoke

Cutting down on cigarettes will not significantly improve your health. You are better off stopping altogether.

Your health will start improving from the moment you stop smoking or chewing tobacco. Giving up tobacco will make you healthier, fitter and save you money.