Non-smokers' responses when smokers light up: a population-based study.Prev Med. 2007 Jul; 45(1):21-5.PM
This study examines the extent to which the 'common courtesy approach' is adopted by non-smokers when in the presence of smokers, in the state of Victoria, Australia, where restrictions on smoking in public places are relatively comprehensive.
4,765 non-smokers aged 18 years and over were surveyed over two representative population telephone-administered surveys of randomly sampled Victorians conducted in 2004 and 2005.
Only 5.5% of non-smokers said they would ask a person to stop smoking if they lit up a cigarette nearby. The majority of non-smokers (74.7%) reported they would move away and 16.4% said they would do nothing. When asked what they would do if, in a public place, someone next to them asked if they minded whether they smoked, 48.8% of non-smokers reported they would say they would prefer it if they didn't smoke, while 28.0% reported that they would tell the person they don't mind when they would prefer that person not smoke. Overall, 46.7% of non-smokers indicated they would consent to be exposed to second-hand smoke if someone asked them this question.
Our findings underline the importance of smoke-free policies in protecting a significant proportion of the non-smoker population, who remain unlikely to protect themselves individually.