Town-level characteristics and smoking policy adoption in Massachusetts: are local restaurant smoking regulations fostering disparities in health protection?

Am J Public Health. 2004 Feb;94(2):286-92. doi: 10.2105/ajph.94.2.286.


Objectives: We identified and quantified differences in sociodemographic characteristics of communities relative to the strength of local restaurant smoking regulations in Massachusetts.

Methods: We examined the relationship between the strength of the 351 local restaurant smoking regulations in Massachusetts and a number of town-level characteristics, using a multinomial logistic regression model.

Results: Characteristics important to the adoption of stronger restaurant smoking regulations included higher education and per capita income, geographic region, voter support for a state cigarette tax initiative, board of health funding to promote clean indoor air policy making, and the presence of a bordering town with a strong regulation.

Conclusions: The current pattern of smoke-free restaurant policy enactment fosters socioeconomic and geographic disparities in health protection, undermining an important national health goal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Financing, Government / standards
  • Geography
  • Government Regulation*
  • Healthy People Programs
  • Humans
  • Local Government*
  • Logistic Models
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Public Health / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Resource Allocation
  • Restaurants / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Smoking / economics
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / economics
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / prevention & control


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution