A national study found that smoking bans worked best at limiting smoking among those who smoked less than a pack a day.
If governments want to discourage smoking among young people, both high taxes and smoking bans do the job — but bans may have one key advantage.
A first-of-its-kind national study found that bans worked best at limiting smoking among more casual users: Those who smoked less than a pack a day. Heavy taxes worked best with those who smoked more than a pack a day.
“Both taxes and bans have their place. But bans might stop casual smokers from becoming heavy tobacco users,” said Mike Vuolo, lead author of the study and assistant professor of sociology at The Ohio State University.
“If you think of casual smoking as the beginning of the path to addiction, then bans might be the way to go.”
The study is the first to look at how city-level government policies — both taxes and bans — affected actual smokers.
“We’re not just looking at how state policies affect smoking rates in general. We were able to determine how individual smokers reacted to changes in government policies at the city level,” Vuolo said.