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Smoking outside: the effect of the Irish workplace smoking ban on smoking prevalence among the employed

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 February 2014

Michael Savage*
Affiliation:
Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin, Ireland
*
*Correspondence to: Michael Savage, Economic and Social Research Institute, Whitaker Square, Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2, Ireland. Email: michael.savage@esri.ie

Abstract

In March 2004, Ireland became the first country to introduce a nationwide workplace smoking ban. The primary aim of the ban was to reduce people’s exposure to second-hand smoke. A 95% compliance rate among employers suggests this aim was achieved. By prohibiting smoking in the majority of indoor working places, an effect of the ban was to increase the non-monetary cost of smoking. The aim of this paper is to examine whether the extra non-monetary cost of smoking was concentrated on the employed. A difference-in-differences approach is used to measure changes in smoking behaviour among the employed relative to the non-working population following the introduction of the workplace smoking ban. The research finds that the workplace smoking ban did not induce a greater reduction in smoking prevalence among the employed population compared with the non-working population. In fact, the evidence suggests a significantly larger decrease in smoking prevalence among the non-workers relative to the employed. Changes in the real price of cigarettes and changes in attitudes to risk are discussed as possible causes for the pattern observed.

Type
Articles
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press 2014 

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