By banning smoking at work and inrestaurants and bars, the U.S. government has apparently made adent in teen smoking.

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That’s the word from a long-term study of trends among youngsmokers from the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Educationof the University of California, San Francisco.

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Researchers were able to frame the effect in terms the tobacco industry can wellunderstand: They said the dampening impact was the same as anadditional per-pack cigarette tax of $1.57.

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Reporting on the study’s results, Reuters said that there weretwo major conclusions:

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1) Smoke-free workplaceregulations decreased the odds of teens taking upsmoking by a whopping 30 percent;

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2) Smoke-free bars had little to no measurable effect onwhen teens began to smoke, although such laws did tend to reduceyouth smoking in general.

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Thus was the power of the workplace isolated and heralded by theresearchers.

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“When you pass workplace laws it sends a strong message thatsmoking is out,” said the study’s senior author, Stanton Glantz.“Teenagers are looking to adults, and see adults rejectingsmoking.”

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Glantz told Reuters that, although raising taxes on cigarettesclearly cuts down on the number of young people who take upsmoking, the study proved that such factors as smoke-freeworkplaces can have a powerful effect as well.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.