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AUSTIN, Texas — Since September 2005, the city of Austin has enforced an ordinance that prohibits smoking indoors at most public businesses and places of work. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have determined the ban correlates with an appreciable decrease in cigarette usage by UT students.

Dr. Jessica Duncan Cance, Assistant Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education, is lead author of the study published this month in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research. Data was collected via internet-based surveys across six years, and asked students to record how often and how many cigarettes they consumed during the previous three months. Both smoking frequency and cigarette quantity decreased after the ban was enacted. Students were also asked to submit information on drinking habits, but a lack of significant change suggest they were unaffected by the smoking ban.

“This research adds to our understanding of the public health impact of smoke-free ordinances because no other study to date has looked at how indoor smoking bans relate to the behaviors of emerging adults, whose smoking habits have yet to be solidified,” explained Cance. “What is clear is that the city-wide ban influenced our students, and that the change was a positive one for their health.”

Contact: Sibyl Kaufman, Marketing Coordinator, College of Education, 512-232-3396, sibyl.kaufman@austin.utexas.edu; or Dr. Jessica Duncan Cance, Assistant Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, College of Education, UT Austin, jdcance@austin.utexas.edu