Social Acceptance of Smoking Restrictions During 10 Years of Policy Implementation, Reversal, and Reenactment in the Netherlands: Findings From a National Population Survey

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Abstract

Introduction:

Little is known about the extent to which smoking restrictions are socially accepted in a country such as the Netherlands where smoking restrictions have been implemented and reversed several times. The current study assessed trends as well as factors associated with two indicators of social acceptance of smoking restrictions in the Netherlands: acceptance of smoking in public places and implementation of home smoking bans.

Methods:

We used data from the Dutch Continuous Survey of Smoking Habits (DCSSH) between 2005 and 2014 (n = 182826). The DCSSH is a national population survey with a cross-sectional design in which respondents aged 15 years and older are surveyed weekly.

Results:

Acceptance of smoking in public places decreased for six out of eight included venues, with the largest decrease for smoking in restaurants. The decrease in acceptance was larger among younger respondents and smokers. Smoking on terraces was an exception: decrease in acceptance there was larger among older respondents and ex-smokers. Implementation of home smoking bans increased over time. Having implemented a home smoking ban was associated with being male, being younger, having a high socioeconomic status, and being ex- or never smoker.

Conclusions:

Social acceptance of smoking restrictions has increased in the Netherlands, despite a suboptimal implementation process of smoking restrictions. However, there is still potential for improvement as acceptance of smoking is still quite high for some public venues like bars. It is important to strengthen smoking restrictions in order to further denormalize smoking in the Netherlands.

Implications:

We examined the extent to which smoking restrictions are socially accepted in the Netherlands where smoking restrictions have been implemented and reversed several times. Acceptance of smoking in public places decreased and implementation of home smoking bans increased between 2005 and 2014. Social acceptance of smoking restrictions increased in the Netherlands despite a suboptimal implementation process of smoking restrictions. However, acceptance of smoking in bars remains relatively high.

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