Large-scale research survey with more than 180,000 Dutch people published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research

Smoking in public less and less socially accepted

Dutch people find smoking in public to be less and less socially acceptable. Additionally, more and more people no longer allow smoking in their homes, according to a large-scale representative research survey by Maastricht University, which is based on results from the Continuous Survey of Smoking Habits (COR). In total, more than 180,000 Dutch people were polled in this study over a period of ten years. This week an article about the study was published in the scientific journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

The places where smoking is found to be least acceptable include public transportation, at schools and in the car with non-smokers. The acceptance of smoking in public dropped more strongly among younger compared to older participants of the survey, and more sharply among smokers compared to non-smokers. Karin Hummel, lead author of the study, explains: ‘We see a clear decline in the acceptance of smoking in many public places, especially in restaurants. On the other hand, smoking in cafés continues to be quite acceptable for many Dutch people. This may be due to the frequent changes in legislation regarding banning smoking in cafés.’

Before the smoking ban in catering establishments was a reality, there were concerns that people would begin to smoke more at home after the ban was introduced. This does not appear to be the case. Over the last 10 years, smokers as well as non-smokers have more and more often introduced a ban on smoking at home. In 2005, smoking was not permitted in an average of 62% of households with young children. By 2014, this figure had risen to 77%. Among smokers, the percentage who banned smoking at home increased from 43% to 55%. It seems as though smoking in public areas as well as in the home environment is increasingly being considered abnormal.

About the research
The COR was a national population study which monitored the smoking behaviour of Dutch people. Each week, a sample of the Dutch population was asked about their smoking habits and views on smoking. The survey was conducted by researchers Dr Karin Hummel, Dr Gera Nagelhout, Prof. Marc Willemsen and Prof. Hein de Vries from Maastricht University (CAPHRI) and Dr Karin Monshouwer from the Trimbos Institute. Fieldwork was carried out by TNS NIPO.

Acknowledgment of research source: Hummel, K., Willemsen, M.C., De Vries, H., Monshouwer, K., & Nagelhout, G.E. Social acceptance of smoking restrictions during ten years of policy implementation, reversal and reenactment in the Netherlands: Findings from a national population survey. Nicotine and Tobacco Research. Published Online First: 17.08.2016

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