The World Health Organisation (WHO), links smoking directly to 6 million deaths yearly worldwide caused by diseases like cancer, chest infections, strokes and heart attacks. The UK had banned smoking in enclosed places of entertainment such as pubs and restaurants by 2006 in Scotland, and 2007 in England.
Women with children reported the highest benefits from smoking bans
A study led by Dr Eugenio Zucchelli from Lancaster University looked at self reported levels of psychological well-being both before and after the introduction of the bans. The research indicated that married women with children reported the largest increase in well-being, while men with children reported no such comparable increase.
An increase in contentment was also noted amongst married men who had quit smoking after the ban, and also amongst both sexes who had never smoked regardless of whether their partner was a smoker or not.
The research team used data from the British Household Panel Survey to extract these results. “We find that public smoking bans appear to have a statistically significant short-term positive impact on the well-being of married individuals, especially among women with dependent children,” said Zucchelli.
Smoking bans benefit more than just smokers
Dr. Zucchelli thinks that the difference in reported well being amongst mothers and fathers can be perhaps attributed to altruistic preferences. “Individuals with altruistic preferences towards their children would benefit more from the introduction of public smoking bans than non-altruistic parents, mainly for the expected reduction of their children’s exposure to secondhand smoke, at least in public places.”
The study author said this data indicates that smoking bans benefit more than just smokers themselves. “Overall, our findings appear to suggest that the welfare impact of public smoking bans should not be limited solely to smokers but could also be extended to partners and family members of smokers.”
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