Up in smoke: Tobacco-free zones may help kick habit
REASURE VALLEY — With a ban on smoking in city parks, this year Meridian joined other governments and businesses that continue to limit where people can light up.
It’s part of a trend that makes it harder and harder for smokers to find places to smoke. And measures like the Meridian park ban could be part of the reason adult smoking rates in Idaho have gone done over the past 15 years.
On Sept. 1, the Woodgrain Millwork facilities in Nampa and Fruitland implemented a smoke free policy on all business property.
“We’ve heard from a lot of our smokers that it’s helped them actually quit,” Idaho Health and Welfare anti-smoking crusader Jack Miller said about smoke-free zones. “‘OK, I can’t smoke at work now, so maybe I should quit.’ A lot of them say that’s been the trigger.”
The Idaho American Heart Association’s Adrean Casper said a study at the University of California, San Francisco found a link between smoke-free zones and quitting and reducing smoking.
Idaho law prohibits smoking in most indoor public places, such as shopping malls, most businesses, hospitals and restaurants.
In the case of Woodgrain, Southwest District Health stepped in to help the company write its new smoking policies.
“Business owners would like government to be the ones to implement their (smoke- free) policies,” Mitch Kiester, of Southwest District Health, said.
“Then maybe they don’t look like the bad guy.”
In 2000, 22.3 percent of Idaho adults smoked. By 2010, that statistic decreased to 15.7 percent.
Casper pointed to other factors that can curb smoking.
“History has shown us when you increase the tobacco tax, when you implement smoke free policies, and when you fully fund a state smoking cessation program you’ll see a decrease in tobacco use,” Casper said.
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