Banning smoking in offices, public transport and other public places can help curb a smoker's drive to light up even inside their homes.

A new survey in Ireland, France, Germany and the Netherlands found out that there were considerable increases in "home bans" during periods when national smoke-bans were imposed by the government.

Researchers of the study particularly conducted the survey during 2003 to 2004 and 2008 to 2009 when such bans took place.

Although some argue that such restrictions may lead to shifting of their habits in their homes, researchers have argued otherwise. The findings of the survey by the Unit of Cancer Prevention at the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Ute Mons of the German Cancer Research Center have been published in the recent edition of the journal Tobacco Control.

"Opponents of workplace or public smoking bans have argued that smoke-free policies - albeit intended to protect non-smokers from tobacco smoke - could lead to displacement of smoking into the home and hence even increase the second-hand smoke exposure of non-smoking family members and, most importantly, children," the Daily Mail quoted from the research.

Smoking prevalence varies widely around the world and is increasing rapidly in many developing countries, creating huge health problems for the future if unchecked. Worldwide approximately 1.3 billion people currently smoke cigarettes or other tobacco products.

According to Cancer Research, the UK and other westernised countries are in the fourth stage of the tobacco epidemic with smoking prevalence below 30 percent. Within the EU there is wide variation in smoking prevalence from around 18 percent in Sweden to 42percent in Greece. 21 The average for the 25 countries of the EU was 32 per cent.

Over the last 50 years, six million Britons have died from tobacco-related diseases, three million of whom died in middle age (15-69) losing on average 20 years of life.

If current smokers can be encouraged to quit, mortality during the first half of the twenty-first century will be reduced. On the other hand, discouraging young people from starting to smoke will reduce smoking-related deaths during the middle or second half of the twenty-first century.