Designated smoking areas are meant to: (1) limit secondhand smoke exposure to non-smokers, and (2) reduce cigarettes consumption by smokers. One year after the implementation of a designated smoking area protocol on a college campus, students were intercepted and asked to complete a short Likert survey designed to assess its perceived benefits. Analysis of the data showed that both smokers and non-smokers consider a reduction in the number of cigarettes consumed by smokers to be an unlikely outcome, which is consistent with research conducted in a variety of setting showing that designated smoking areas typically do not lead to less smoking by smokers. However, whereas the non-smokers agreed that the policy resulted in lowering exposure to second-hand smoke, smokers were unwilling to endorse a statement indicating that this occurred. This suggests that it may be unrealistic to assume that appeals to empathy (i.e. pointing out the negative impact of second hand smoke) when promoting the benefits of a designated smoking area will result in an automatic buy-in.
Roszkowski, M. J., Neubauer, L. B., & Zelikovsky, N. (2014). Perceived Benefits of a Designated Smoking Area Policy on a College Campus: Views of Smokers and Non-smokers. New York Journal of Student Affairs, 14(1). Retrieved from https://commons.library.stonybrook.edu/nyjsa/vol14/iss1/3