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WMJ. 2012 Aug;111(4):166-71; quiz 172.

Evaluating effects of statewide smoking regulations on smoking behaviors among participants in the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin.

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Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI 53726, USA.



Studies have shown that laws banning smoking in public places reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, but the impact of such laws on exposure to smoke outside the home and on household smoking policies has not been well documented. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effects of 2009 Wisconsin Act 12, a statewide smoke-free law enacted in July 2010, among participants in the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW).


Smoking history and demographic information was gathered from 1341 survey participants from 2008 to 2010. Smoking behaviors of independent samples of participants surveyed before and after the legislation was enacted were compared.


The smoking ban was associated with a reduction of participants reporting exposure to smoke outside the home (from 55% to 32%; P<0.0001) and at home (13% to 7%; P=0.002). The new legislation was associated with an increased percentage of participants with no-smoking policies in their households (from 74% to 80%; P=.04). The results were stronger among participants who were older, wealthier, and more educated.


Smoke-free legislation appears to reduce secondhand smoke exposure and to increase no-smoking policies in households. Further research should be conducted to see if these effects are maintained.

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