The Pattern of Indoor Smoking Restriction Law Transitions, 1970–2009: Laws Are Sticky

ArticleinAmerican Journal of Public Health 103(8) · June 2013with7 Reads
Impact Factor: 4.55 · DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301449 · Source: PubMed

    Abstract

    Objectives:
    We examined the pattern of the passage of smoking laws across venues (government and private workplaces, restaurants, bars) and by strength (no law to 100% smoke-free).

    Methods:
    We conducted transition analyses of local and state smoking restrictions passed between 1970 and 2009, with data from the Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights Ordinance Database.

    Results:
    Each decade, more laws were enacted, from 18 passed in the 1970s to 3172 in the first decade of this century, when 91% of existing state laws were passed. Most laws passed took states and localities from no law to some level of smoking restriction, and most new local (77%; 5148/6648) and state (73%; 115/158) laws passed in the study period did not change strength.

    Conclusions:
    Because these laws are "sticky"-once a law has passed, strength of the law and venues covered do not change often-policymakers and advocates should focus on passing strong laws the first time, rather than settling for less comprehensive laws with the hope of improving them in the future.