No-smoking-in-the-house rules jumped considerably in the past two decades – from 43% in 1992-93 to 83% in 2010-11, according to a new report published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Homes of non-smokers have become even less tolerant of cigarettes, with 91.4% banning tobacco use indoors compared to about 58% roughly 20 years ago, the report said. What’s more, nearly half of homes with smokers prohibit the practice, a fivefold jump over two decades.
“Considerable progress has been made in the percentage of households that have smoke-free rules,” said lead author Brian King, a senior scientist in CDC’s Office of Smoking and Health.
Still, more work needs to be done, King notes. And that’s because 46% of homes with smokers ban such hazardous habit.
King said that the increase in smoke-free homes is good news for children and others who suffer because of second-hand smoke.
“We know that second-hand smoke exposure causes asthma attacks among adults and children. [Cigarette smoke contains] over 7,000 chemicals, 250 of which are toxic and 70 of which cause cancer,” King said.
Increases in smoke-free homes were seen in every state and the District of Columbia, the researchers said.
Kentucky still has the lowest percentage of smoke-free homes — 69.4%— but that’s nearly three times as many as it had in 1992-93. And Utah still has the highest percentage — nearly 94%, up from 69.4 two decades earlier.
“The primary factor is a change in social norms,”
“Since 2002 there has been a marked change in the number of states that have comprehensive smoke-free policies,” he said. “We know that these smoke-free policies also influence the adoption of smoke-free areas in private areas like homes.”
Erika Sward, assistant vice president for national advocacy at the American Lung Association, said she’s pleased that so many homes don’t allow smoking.
“That’s key, because 41,000 people die from second-hand smoke exposure every year,” she said.
Sward doesn’t think that all the news in the report is good, however. “We are very troubled that in households where there is at least one adult smoker that more than half still smoke inside,” she said.
“That is particularly troubling for the smokers’ families, especially children, because it puts them at risk for serious health problems like asthma and sudden infant death syndrome,” Sward said.
“Every smoker needs to quit,” she said. “But until they quit, they need to smoke outside and away from their family.”
The new findings were published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.