A new study found that a ban on smoking cigarettes can help young men from heavy smoking. The study was conducted after the analysis of data from more than 4,300 people in 487 cities nationwide who were interviewed annually between 2004 and 2011 when they were aged 19 to 31.

The study, which was published in the September issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, found that young men who were light smokers and lived in areas with smoking bans had 13 percent rate of smoking, while it was 19 percent for young men in areas without such bans. The rate of smoking in women was 11 percent, the same in areas with and without bans.

"These findings provide some of the most robust evidence to date on the impact of smoking bans on young people's smoking," study co-author Mike Vuolo, an assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State University, said.

The percentage of people in the study living in a city with a comprehensive smoking ban increased from almost 15 percent in 2004 to nearly 60 percent in 2011, the researchers found.

A woman disposes a cigarette in Los Angeles, California, May 31, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn

While the smoking ban did not reduce smoking for those who smoked more than a pack a day when the bans began, it prevented light smokers from becoming heavy smokers, the researchers said after their analysis.

"We found that locations that have had a smoking ban for longer periods of time have fewer youth, regardless of gender, who are heavy smokers than other areas," Vuolo said in a university news release.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 5.4 million people die each year due to tobacco-related illnesses, a number that is expected to increase to more than 8 million a year by 2030.