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Washington, Mar 26: Adults in India are more likely to abstain from smoking at home if they are prohibited from smoking at work, a new study has found.

According to data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey India, 2009/2010, 64 percent of adults who work in smokefree environments live in a smokefree home, compared with 42 percent of those who work where smoking is permitted.

The proportion of smokefree homes is higher in states with higher proportions of smokefree workplaces.

The authors of the study, from Imperial College London and the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), said that the findings suggest that the implementation of smokefree legislation in India may have resulted in substantial health benefits for the population, particularly for women and children.

"This study suggests that, in India, there is good evidence that smokefree laws in workplaces are associated with a reduction in second-hand smoke at home," Dr John Tayu Lee, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, who led the study said.

"The results support the idea of 'norm spreading', whereby restrictions on smoking in public places make it seem less acceptable to expose others to second-hand smoke more generally, including at home," Dr Christopher Millett, from the School of Public Health at Imperial said.

"They highlight the importance of accelerating the implementation of smokefree legislation more widely in India," he said.

According to the survey, there are 110 million smokers in India. National legislation prohibiting smoking in public places and workplaces was introduced in 2008, but the law is not comprehensive as it permits designated smoking areas in large restaurants and hotels.

Enforcement of the law is highly variable and the penalty is a modest fine of 200 rupees.

Nationally, 30 percent of adults report being exposed to second-hand smoke at work, with 52 percent exposed at home.

Studies in the USA, Ireland and Scotland have found that implementation of comprehensive smokefree laws has been associated with reduced second-hand smoke in homes, but there has been little information about whether these benefits exist in low- and middle-income countries.

The research is published in Tobacco Control. (ANI)

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