Intended for healthcare professionals


The future of smoke-free legislation

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 13 September 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:521
  1. Simon Chapman, professor of public health
  1. University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
  1. sc{at}

    Will cars and homes follow bans on smoking in public spaces?

    A tide of epidemiological,1 clinical,2 and toxicological3 research has gradually transformed the meaning of the quiet, convivial cigarette into a health hazard for others, and smokers into stigmatised, regulated exiles from public spaces.4 Bans on smoking in enclosed public places have moved into global overdrive in the past decade. Three studies in this week's BMJ provide evidence of the clinical and social effects of legislation to prohibit smoking in almost all enclosed public places and work places—including bars, restaurants, and cafés—in Scotland implemented in March 2006.5 6 7

    The hospitality and tobacco industries forecast the end of civilisation after banishing smoking from bars.8 The bar economy and tourism would collapse. The vibrant tradition of pub life would be sacrificed on the altar of risk aversion. Drinks left on the bar while smokers stepped outside would be spiked by rapists,9 and street fights would increase. Smoking would be displaced …

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