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The rationale for smoke free laws is to protect people from the effects of second-hand smoke, which include an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, emphysema, and other diseases. Laws implementing bans on indoor smoking have been introduced by many countries in various forms over the years, with some legislators citing scientific evidence that shows tobacco smoking is harmful to the smokers themselves and to those inhaling 'second-hand smoke'. In addition, such laws may lower health care costs, improve work productivity, and lower the overall cost of labor in a community, thus making a community more attractive for employers. The World Health Organization considers "smoke-free laws to influence a reduce demand for tobacco by creating an environment where smoking becomes increasingly more difficult and to help shift social norms away from the acceptance of smoking in everyday life". Along with tax measures, cessation measures, and education, smoking ban policy is currently viewed as an important element in lowering smoking rates and promoting public health. When correctly and strictly implemented it is seen as one important policy agenda goal to change human behavior away from unhealthy behavior and towards a healthy lifestyle.
On March 29, 2004, the Irish Government implemented a ban on smoking in the workplace, the first country to do so. In Norway similar legislation was put into force on July 1 the same year. The whole of the United Kingdom became subject to a ban on smoking in enclosed public places in 2007. Many other EU countries now have smoking bans (either full or partial) and many US states also have introduced smoking bans.
Several studies have documented health and economic benefits related to smoking bans. It was reported in Jan 2009 (1) "In the first 18 months after Pueblo, Colorado enacted a 2003 smoking ban, hospital admissions for heart attacks dropped by 27% while admissions in neighboring towns without smoking bans showed no change. The decline in heart attacks was attributed to the smoking ban, which reduced exposure to secondhand smoke. A similar study in Helena, Montana found a 40% reduction in heart attacks following the imposition of a smoking ban".
Examples of Smoking Cessation Programs
- Committed quitters: GSK and Micromass communications Inc - Committed quitters  is an online special service program that offers an individualised smoking intervention plan in combination with other aids to quit smoking. The service is highly personalised and provides helpful hints to overcome individual barriers and ongoing information that provides motivation to stay committed to the plan.
- Way2Quit  - This is a behaviour support website providing customised tools and advice for smoking cessation. Tools such as the health risk assessor, readiness indicator, dependency quiz, cravings pacifier, trigger detector and slip meter help the individual create his own smoking profile and identify the barriers and triggers that affect his/her desire to quit.
- Lifesign Quitkey  - The Quitkey smoking cessation computer is a handheld device and creates a personalised gradual reduction program to help reduce and then stop smoking. This device is discreet, can be attached to a keychain and has adjustable volume for privacy purposes. Quitkey alters smoking routine and eases one off cigarettes in a gradual step down process in two stages. The first stage consists of recording the number of cigarettes smoked over 7 days that is used to form a customised cessation plan. In the second stage, the device prompts the participant when to smoke and when not to smoke thereby gradually reducing and then stopping the amount of cigarettes smoked. Studies funded by the NIH have shown that this hand held device is effective in helping the participant quit smoking.
- QT watch  - Designed by Neil Perlman, the QT watch monitors decreasing dependency on cigarettes, keeps track of related medications and provides positive feedback that help the participant stay motivated. It has tools such as the current quitting score, time since last cigarette, daily count and goal and money saved, alarms to remind participants to use quitting aids such as pills/patch and over 400 clinically written messages providing positive feedback customised to the person’s needs and stage in the quitting process.
- ↑ http://www.impactlab.com/2009/01/01/drop-in-heart-attacks-due-to-smoking-ban/
- ↑ http://www.lifesign.com
- ↑ http://www.committedquitters.com
- ↑ http://www.way2quit.com
- ↑ http://www.lifesign.com
- ↑ http://www.qt-watch.com