Nursing department releases results of two tobacco studies
The Department of Nursing at Minot State University recently shared the results of two new tobacco studies. One looked at the impact of North Dakota’s smoke-free law on sales in restaurants and bars, and the second indicated how well businesses are complying with the smoke-free law, according to Kelly Buettner-Schmidt, department chair. Both studies were commissioned by the N.D. Department of Health Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control.
Beginning August 1, 2005, state law required most public places and workplaces to be smoke free with some exemptions. The first study, authored by Buettner-Schmidt, reviewed taxable sales from 2003 through the third quarter of 2006 for the retail trade sector and for the food services and drinking places subsector. Major findings indicated that sales continued to increase after the smoke-free law was implemented.
"Previous studies done in cities and states that have enacted smoke-free laws have consistently shown that either there is no impact on sales in restaurants and bars or sales have gone up," said Buettner-Schmidt. "This study indicates that North Dakota is following this positive trend."
Findings from the second study, the compliance survey showed that overall compliance with the law is high. However, compliance rates were lower in co-located establishments - those located inside or connected to another business. Noncompliance included permitting smoking in areas required to be smoke free; not separately enclosing bars located inside another business, and not keeping doors of co-located establishments closed. The authors said that the high level of compliance with the current law suggests that establishing smoke-free laws to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke would be an effective method to reduce such exposure.
Co-authors of the compliance study with Buettner-Schmidt are Kathleen Mangskau and Clint Boots. Boots is employed by the tobacco prevention and control division and Mangskau was employed there during the time of the study.
Given that the U.S. Surgeon General warns that secondhand smoke causes early death and illness for those who do not smoke and that there is no risk-free level of exposure, the authors recommend that health care advocates and policy makers continue working toward establishing smoke-free environments in all public and employment places so all workers and patrons are protected.