Banning smoking in restaurants may not only be good for public health, but also helpful in preventing teens from becoming habitual smokers.
This has been deduction from the analysis of a recent survey of 3834 Massachusetts youths, conducted in 2001 by Boston University researchers.
Lead researcher Michael Siegel has revealed that follow-ups were also carried out two and four years later, reports New Scientist magazine.
The researchers observed that in towns without restaurant smoking bans, 9.8 per cent teens had smoked over 100 cigarettes in their lifetimes, compared with 7.9 per cent in towns with smoking bans.
Upon taking into account whether the subjects' parents smoked, the researchers observed that youngsters in towns with bands were 35 per cent less likely to be habitual smokers.
The researchers said that bans would not make children less likely to try cigarettes, but still they seem to stop teens from making it a habit.
They believe that a major reason for this may be that bans result in fewer contacts between smokers and teenagers, and make smoking seem less socially acceptable.