Objective: The aim of this study is to assess the level of protection of secondhand smoke in outdoor locations among countries belonging to the WHO European Region.
Method: This cross-sectional study measures the level of protection provided by laws in outdoor locations. A protocol to evaluate the outdoor smoke-free legislation was developed according to the recommendations provided by the WHO Guidelines for implementing smoke-free outdoor places. For each law 6 main sectors and 28 outdoor locations were evaluated.
Results: 68 laws from 48 countries were reviewed, totally assessing 1758 locations. Overall 3.1% of the locations specified 100% smoke-free outdoor regulation without exceptions, 2.5% permitted smoking in designated outdoor areas, 37.5% allowed smoking everywhere, and 56.9% did not provide information about how to deal with smoking in outdoor places. In the Education sector 17.8% of the laws specified smoke-free outdoor regulation, mainly in the primary and secondary schools. Three pioneering laws from recreational locations and two from general health facilities specified 100% outdoor smoke-free regulation.
Conclusion: Outdoor smoke-free policies among countries belonging to the WHO European Region are limited and mainly have been passed in the primary and secondary schools, which protect minors from the hazards of secondhand smoke in educational settings.
Keywords: Europe; Law; Legislation; Outdoor; Smoke-free.
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