The efficacy of different models of smoke-free laws in reducing exposure to second-hand smoke: a multi-country comparison

Health Policy. 2013 May;110(2-3):207-13. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2013.02.007. Epub 2013 Mar 14.


Exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke is a serious public health concern and while all EU Member States have enacted some form of regulation aimed at limiting exposure, the scope of these regulations vary widely and many countries have failed to enact comprehensive legislation creating smoke-free workplaces and indoor public places. To gauge the effectiveness of different smoke-free models we compared fine particles from second-hand smoke in hospitality venues before and after the implementation of smoking bans in France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Scotland. Data on PM2.5 fine particle concentration levels were recorded in 338 hospitality venues across these countries before and after the implementation of smoke-free legislation. Changes in mean PM2.5 concentrations during the period from pre- to post-legislation were then compared across countries. While a reduction in PM2.5 was observed in all countries, those who had enacted and enforced more fully comprehensive smoke-free legislation experienced the greatest reduction in second-hand tobacco smoke. Comprehensive smoke-free laws are more effective than partial laws in reducing exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. Also, any law, regardless of scope must be actively enforced in order to have the desired impact. There is continued need for surveillance of smoke-free efforts in all countries.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • European Union
  • France / epidemiology
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Ireland / epidemiology
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Portugal / epidemiology
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Smoke-Free Policy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / prevention & control*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / statistics & numerical data
  • Turkey / epidemiology


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution