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Smoke-Free Policies Receive Public Support

Overview

Exposure to secondhand smoke from burning tobacco products causes disease and premature death among nonsmokers.1 There is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke, and even brief exposure can cause immediate harm.1 Smokefree laws that prohibit smoking in all indoor areas of a venue fully protect nonsmokers from involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke indoors.1 National and international studies have shown strong public support for smokefree laws, with levels of support increasing after policy implementation among both nonsmokers and smokers.2-8

Selected Studies: Domestic

United States

Data from the 2009–2010 National Adult Tobacco Survey indicated that a majority of U.S. adults think workplaces and restaurants should be smokefree, and half think bars, casinos, and clubs should be smokefree. Regardless of venue type, women, older individuals, non-Hispanic Asians, individuals with higher education and income, and nonsmokers were the most likely to think these venues should be smokefree.2

U.S. AdultsBelieve Workplaces Should Be SmokefreeBelieve Restaurants Should Be SmokefreeBelieve Bars/Casinos/Clubs Should Be Smokefree
All Adults81.6%74.9%50.0%
Never Smokers89.0%82.9%60.0%
Former Smokers82.1%76.6%51.9%
Current Smokers59.4%49.9%19.2%

California

In 1998, a statewide smokefree law prohibiting smoking in all indoor areas of bars was implemented in California. A series of statewide surveys found that public approval for the smokefree law increased among bar patrons within 2.5 years after the law took effect. 3

California Bar PatronsApproved of Law 3 Months After It Took EffectApproved of Law 2.5 years After It Took Effect
All Bar Patrons46%62%

New York

In 2003, a statewide comprehensive smokefree law prohibiting smoking in all indoor areas of workplaces, restaurants, and bars was implemented in New York State. Data from the New York State Adult Tobacco Survey indicated that public support for the smokefree law increased among both smokers and nonsmokers within 2 years after the law took effect.4

New York State AdultsSupported Law Shortly Before It Took EffectSupported Law 2 Years After It Took Effect
All Adults64%80%
Nonsmokers74%86%
Smokers25%37%

Minnesota

In 2007, a statewide smokefree law prohibiting smoking in all indoor areas of workplaces, restaurants, and bars was implemented in Minnesota. A study of adolescents and young adults aged 16–24 years found that attitudes toward smokefree restaurants and bars/clubs improved immediately after the law took effect, both among those living with and without a previous local smokefree law.5

Minnesota Adolescents and Young Adults (16–24 years old)Believed Restaurants Should Be Smokefree 6–12 Months Before Law Took EffectBelieved Restaurants Should Be Smokefree 1–6 Months After Law Took Effect
With Previous Local Smokefree Law70.9%77.1%
Without Previous Local Smokefree Law62.5%79.0%
 
 Believed Bars/Clubs Should Be Smokefree 6–12 Months Before Law Took EffectBelieved Bars/Clubs Should Be Smoke-Free 1–6 Months After Law Took Effect
With Previous Local Smokefree Law48.9%56.8%
Without Previous Local Smokefree Law36.5%57.3%

Selected Studies: International

Ireland

In 2004, a national comprehensive smokefree law prohibiting smoking in all indoor areas of workplaces, restaurants, and pubs was implemented in Ireland. A study found that attitudes toward smokefree workplaces, restaurants, and pubs improved among adult smokers almost a year after the law took effect.6

Ireland Adult SmokersBelieved Venue Should Be Smokefree Shortly Before Law Took EffectBelieved Venue Should Be Smokefree 1 Year After Law Took Effect
Workplaces43%67%
Restaurants45%77%
Pubs13%46%

New Zealand

In 2004, a national comprehensive smokefree law prohibiting smoking in all indoor areas of workplaces, restaurants, and bars/pubs was implemented in New Zealand. A study found that attitudes toward smokefree bars/pubs improved among adults 4 months after the law took effect.7

New Zealand AdultsBelieved Venue Should Be Smokefree 1 Month Before Law Took EffectBelieved Venue Should Be Smokefree 4 Months After Law Took Effect
Bars/Pubs56.0%69.0%

Scotland

In 2006, a national comprehensive smokefree law prohibiting smoking in all indoor areas of workplaces, restaurants/cafes, and bars was implemented in Scotland. A study found that attitudes toward smokefree workplaces, restaurants, and pubs improved among adults one year after the law took effect.8

Scotland AdultsBelieved Venue Should Be Smokefree Shortly Before Law Took EffectBelieved Venue Should Be Smokefree 1 Year After Law Took Effect
Workplaces52.0%66.0%
Restaurants/Cafes61.0%82.0%
Bars33.0%58.0%


References

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2006 [accessed 2014 May 13].
  2. King BA, Dube SR, Tynan MA. Attitudes Toward Smoke-Free Workplaces, Restaurants, and Bars, Casinos, and Clubs Among U.S. Adults: Findings from the 2009–2010 National Adult Tobacco Survey. Nicotine & Tobacco Research 2013;15(8): 1464–70 [cited 2014 May 13].
  3. Tang H, Cowling DW, Lloyd JC, Rogers T, Koumjian KL, Stevens CM, Bal DG. Changes of Attitudes and Patronage Behaviors in Response to a Smoke-Free Bar Law. American Journal of Public Health 2003;93(4):611–7 [cited 2014 May 13].
  4. New York State Department of Health. The Health and Economic Impact of New York's Clean Indoor Air Act. New York: New York State Department of Health, 2006 [cited 2014 May 13].
  5. Fabian LE, Bernat DH, Lenk KM, Shi Q, Forster JL. Smoke-Free Laws in Bars and Restaurants: Does Support Among Teens and Young Adults Change After a Statewide Smoke-Free Law? Public Health Reports 2011;126(5):669–76 [cited 2014 May 13].
  6. Fong GT, Hyland A, Borland R, Hammond D, Hastings G, McNeill A, et al. Reductions in Tobacco Smoke Pollution and Increases in Support for Smoke-Free Public Places Following the Implementation of Comprehensive Smoke-Free Workplace Legislation in the Republic of Ireland: Findings from the ITC Ireland/UK Survey. Tobacco Control 2006;15(Suppl III):iii51–8 [cited 2014 May 13].
  7. Thomson G, Wilson N. One year of Smoke-Free Bars and Restaurants in New Zealand: Impacts and Responses. BMC Public Health 2006;6:64 [cited 2014 May 13].
  8. Hyland A, Hassan LM, Higbee C, Boudreau C, Fong GT, Borland R, Cummings KM, Yan M, Thompson ME, Hastings G. The Impact of Smokefree Legislation in Scotland: Results From the Scottish ITC: Scotland/UK Longitudinal Surveys.European Journal of Public Health 2009;19(2):198–205 [cited 2014 May 13].

For Further Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Office on Smoking and Health
E-mail: tobaccoinfo@cdc.gov
Phone: 1-800-CDC-INFO

Media Inquiries: Contact CDC's Office on Smoking and Health press line at 770-488-5493.

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