Ban may help some butt out

Speaking of prohibition, here are some findings from public smoking bans in the heart of tobacco country:

A new study says anti-smoking laws may make it easier to quit smoking.

The study done by the University of Kentucky College of Nursing showed a 31.9 percent decrease in the number of adult smokers in Fayette County in the months following the April 2004 passage of Lexington’s anti-smoking law, from 25.7 to 17.5 percent.

That compared to virtually unchanged rates of smokers in Boone, Kenton and three other Kentucky counties that had no smoking bans. The percentage of smokers remained at 27.6 percent in those counties throughout the course of the study, which looked at Center for Disease Control and Prevention public domain data from 2001 to 2005.

Dr. Ellen Hahn, of the College of Nursing, said researchers expected some decline in Fayette. But “we did not expect this magnitude.”

Hahn said the decline in smoking was uniform regardless of economic status.

“Across the board, there were fewer smokers,” she said.