Public Policy Interventions for Addiction


Aims: using a widespread efforts to improve health by preventing unhealthy behaviours

Ban on Smoking:

  • 2007 legislation made it illegal to smoke in public buildings
  • Primary objective was to protect the public from the harmful effects of second hand smoke

Social Learning Theory - No smoking role models

  • Less likely to learn by observation
  • More likely to imitate non-smoking role models

Classical Conditioning - Removes cues for smoking 

E.g. The smell of smoke, ash trays, others smoking


  • Cigarette sales have decreased since the ban by 7%
  • Cigarette consumption is falling annually by 2%

However, measuring effectiveness is difficult

Gomel Et Al (1993): studied ambulance workers in Australia after a smoking ban in their workplace

Findings: Although participants reported smoking less, blood tests revealed that they were compensating for not smoking at work by smoking more


Fowler and Christakis (2008): Smokers who quit successfully tend to give up in groups rather than as isolated individuals

  • A friend or a colleague quitting decreases the chances of smoking in others by 36%
  • But might increase the solidarity amongst people who still smoke - making them less likely to quit

Health Warnings on Cigarette Packets:

  • Educate the public about the harmful effects of smoking

Learning Theory:


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