Because there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, smoke-free areas are the only way to completely protect nonsmokers from the harm of secondhand smoke. When smoke-free areas are created, levels of smoke exposure are more than 90% lower than they are where smoking is permitted. When indoor smoking areas are allowed, ventilation is inadequate to eliminate secondhand smoke, and the reduction
in smoking among smokers is less.
A 2010 Cochrane literature review assessed 31 studies measuring exposure to secondhand smoke after smoking bans, with 19 studies including biomarkers. The review concluded there is “consistent evidence that smoking bans reduced exposure to secondhand smoke in work-places, restaurants, pubs, and public places.”
Some countries have now banned smoking in outdoor areas, such as those of restaurants and bars, and in beaches, parks, and campuses, on the rationale that smoking may expose workers, nonsmokers, patrons, and children to significant levels of secondhand smoke and readily preventable risks to health.
Public support is high for smoking bans in public places, including crowded outdoor areas. In regions where smoking bans have been mandated by law, employees, customers, and business owners report high compliance and satisfaction with the results, and compliance with smoke-free regulations increases over time. Independent studies consistently show no drop in employment or tax receipts.
Smoking bans, relatively inexpensive to implement, can produce immediate economic benefits to employers in the form of reduced accidental fire risk, lower insurance premiums, higher productivity, and less employee absenteeism.
Current challenges are how to decrease smoking in the home, and how to regulate smoking in multifamily homes and in vehicles with small children.
the public Says:
Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Ireland, 2006
A few weeks before the [smoking] ban came into force in Ireland, Dublin banker Jimmy Fogarty asked the barman at his local pub: ‘What are you going to do when the ban comes in?’
‘Breathe,’ the barman replied.