France implemented a comprehensive smoke-free policy in public places in February 2007 for workplaces, shopping centres, airports, train stations, hospitals and schools. On January 2008, it was extended to meeting places (bars, restaurants, hotels, casinos, nightclubs). This paper evaluates France's smoke-free law based on the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project in France (the ITC France Project), which conducted a cohort survey of approximately 1,500 smokers and 500 non-smokers before the implementation of the laws (Wave 1, conducted December 2006 to February 2007) and two waves after the implementation (Wave 2, conducted between September-November 2008; and Wave 3, conducted between September-December 2012). Results show that the smoke-free law led to a very significant and near total elimination of indoor smoking in key venues such as bars (from 95.9% to 3.7%) and restaurants (from 64.7% to 2.3%) at Wave 2, which was sustained four years later at Wave 3 (1.4% in restaurants; 6.6% in bars). Smoking in workplaces declined significantly after the law (from 42.6% to 19.3%), which continued to decline at Wave 3 (to 12.8%). Support for the smoke-free law increased significantly after their implementation and continued to increase at Wave 3 (among smokers for bars and restaurants; among smokers and non-smokers for workplaces). The findings demonstrate that smoke-free policies that are implemented in ways consistent with the Guidelines for Article 8 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) lead to substantial and sustained reductions in tobacco smoke in public places while also leading to high levels of support by the public.
Keywords: Tobacco; evaluation of public policies; meeting place; second-hand smoke; smoking ban; workplace.