University of Bath

The impact of smokefree legislation (‘the smoking ban’): evidence from research

An IPR Policy Brief to examine the effects of the smokefree legislation on exposure to, and knowledge about, secondhand smoke.

Tobacco is the biggest cause of death and disease in England. In July 2007 legislation came into effect which required enclosed public spaces, including workplaces, to go smokefree. Internationally important research from members of the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath (part of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, UK CTCS) has examined the effects of the smokefree legislation on exposure to, and knowledge about, secondhand smoke.

The research shows that legislation has had a significant effect on decreasing adults’ exposure to secondhand smoke, with accompanying health benefits, and that, while smoking was not displaced from public places into the home, more still needs to be done to protect children most at risk. Mass media campaigns have an important role to play in strengthening public knowledge about the risks of secondhand smoke.