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A "No Smoking" sign recognizable throughout the Western world
A "No Smoking" sign on most passenger flights around the world
Smoking bans are public policies, including criminal laws and occupational safety and health regulations, which prohibit tobacco smoking in workplace and/or other public spaces. Legislation may also define smoking as more generally being the carrying or possessing of any lit tobacco product.


The rationale for smoke-free laws is to protect people from the effects of second-hand smoke, which include an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, emphysema, and other diseases. Laws implementing bans on indoor smoking have been introduced by many countries in various forms over the years, with some legislators citing scientific evidence that shows tobacco smoking is harmful to the smokers themselves and to those inhaling second-hand smoke.

In addition, such laws may lower health care costs in the short term (but may actually increase them in the long term), improve work productivity, and lower the overall cost of labor in a community, thus making a community more attractive for employers. In Indianamarker, the state's economic development agency wrote into its 2006 plan for acceleration of economic growth an encouragement to cities and towns to adopt local smoke-free workplace laws as a means of promoting job growth in communities.

Additional rationales for smoking restrictions include reduced risk of fire in areas with explosive hazards; cleanliness in places where food, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, or precision instruments and machinery are produced; decreased legal liability; potentially reduced energy use via decreased ventilation needs; reduced quantities of litter; healthier environments; and giving smokers incentive to quit.

The World Health Organization considers smoke-free laws to have an influence to reduce demand for tobacco by creating an environment where smoking becomes increasingly more difficult and to help shift social norms away from the acceptance of smoking in everyday life. Along with tax measures, cessation measures, and education, smoking ban policy is currently viewed as an important element in lowering smoking rates and promoting public health. When correctly and strictly implemented it is seen as one important policy agenda goal to change human behavior away from unhealthy behavior and towards a healthy lifestyle.

Medical and scientific basis for bans

Research has generated evidence that secondhand smoke causes the same problems as direct smoking, including lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and lung ailments such as emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma. Specifically, meta-analyses show that lifelong non-smokers with partners who smoke in the home have a 20–30% greater risk of lung cancer than non-smokers who live with non-smokers. Non-smokers exposed to cigarette smoke in the workplace have an increased lung cancer risk of 16–19%.

A study issued in 2002 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization concluded that non-smokers are exposed to the same carcinogens as active smokers. Sidestream smoke contains 69 known carcinogens, particularly benzopyrene and other polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, and radioactive decay products, such as polonium 210 . Several well-established carcinogens have been shown by the tobacco companies' own research to be present at higher concentrations in secondhand smoke than in mainstream smoke.

Scientific organizations confirming the harmful effects of secondhand smoke include the U.S. National Cancer Institute, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. National Institutes of Healthmarker, the Surgeon General of the United States, and the World Health Organization.

Air quality

Bans on smoking in bars and restaurants can substantially improve the air quality in such establishments. For example, one study listed on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that New Yorkmarker's statewide law to eliminate smoking in enclosed workplaces and public places substantially reduced RSP (respirable suspended particles) levels in western New York hospitality venues. RSP levels were reduced in every venue that permitted smoking before the law was implemented, including venues in which only second-hand smoke from an adjacent room was observed at baseline. The CDC concluded that their results were similar to other studies which also showed substantially improved indoor air quality after smoking bans.

A 2004 study showed New Jerseymarker bars and restaurants had more than nine times the levels of indoor air pollution of neighboring New York Citymarker, which had enacted its ban.

Research has also shown that improved air quality translates to decreased toxin exposure among employees. For example, among employees of the Norwegian establishments that enacted smoking bans, tests showed improved (decreased) levels of nicotine in the urine of both smoking and non-smoking workers (as compared with measurements prior to the ban).


One of the world's earliest smoking bans was a 1575 Mexican ecclesiastical council ban that forbid the use of tobacco in any church in Mexico and Spanish colonies in the Caribbean. The Ottoman sultan Murad IV prohibited smoking in his empire in 1633. The Pope also banned smoking in the Church, Pope Urban VII in 1590 and Urban VIII in 1624. Pope Urban VII in particular threatened to excommunicate anyone who "took tobacco in the porchway of or inside a church, whether it be by chewing it, smoking it with a pipe or sniffing it in powdered form through the nose". The earliest citywide European smoking bans were enacted shortly thereafter. Such bans were enacted in Bavariamarker, Kursachsen, and certain parts of Austriamarker in the late 1600s. Smoking was banned in Berlinmarker in 1723, in Königsbergmarker in 1742, and in Stettinmarker in 1744. These bans were repealed in the revolutions of 1848. The first building in the world to have a smoke-free policy was the Old Government Buildingmarker in Wellingtonmarker, New Zealandmarker in 1876. This was over concerns about the threat of fire, as it is the second largest wooden building in the world. The first modern, nationwide tobacco ban was imposed by the Nazi Party in every Germanmarker university, post office, military hospital, and Nazi Party office, under the auspices of Karl Astel's Institute for Tobacco Hazards Research, created in 1941 under orders from Adolf Hitler. Major anti-tobacco campaigns were widely broadcast by the Nazis until the demise of the regime in 1945.

In the latter part of the 20th century, as research on the risks of secondhand tobacco smoke became public, the tobacco industry launched "courtesy awareness" campaigns. Fearing reduced sales, the industry created a media and legislative program that focused on "accommodation". Tolerance and courtesy were encouraged as a way to ease heightened tensions between smokers and those around them, while avoiding smoking bans. In the USA, states were encouraged to pass laws providing separate smoking sections.

In 1975, the US state of Minnesota enacted the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, making it the first state to ban smoking in most public spaces. At first, restaurants were required to have No Smoking sections, and bars were exempt from the Act. As of October 1, 2007, Minnesota enacted a ban on smoking in all restaurants and bars statewide, called the Freedom to Breathe Act of 2007.

In 1990, the city of San Luis Obispo, Californiamarker, became the first city in the world to ban indoor smoking at all public places, including bars and restaurants.

In America, the success of the ban enacted by the state of Californiamarker in 1998 encouraged other states such as New York to implement bans. California's smoking ban included a controversial ban of smoking in bars, extending the statewide workplace smoking ban enacted in 1994. As of April 2009 there were 37 states with some form of smoking ban. Some areas in California began making entire cities smoke-free, which would include every place except residential homes. More than 20 cities in California enacted park and beach smoking bans.

On March 29, 2004, the Republic of Irelandmarker implemented a ban on smoking in the workplace, the first country to do so. In Norwaymarker similar legislation was put into force on July 1 the same year. The whole of the United Kingdommarker became subject to a ban on smoking in enclosed public places in 2007, when Englandmarker became the final region to have the legislation come into effect. The age limit for buying tobacco was also raised from 16 to 18 on October 1, 2007. In 2007, Chandigarhmarker became the first city in Indiamarker to become 'smoke-free'. Smoking was banned in public indoor venues in Victoriamarker, Australia on July 1, 2007.

Smoking bans by country

A "Smoking Area" sign, commonly seen in restaurants and bars, this sign now lies discarded in store room of a London pub

A great number of mostly developed countries have enacted bans on smoking in public places or workplaces since the early 2000s, often in conjunction with a reduction in the proportion of the population who smoke. In many mostly developing countries, where tobacco consumption is high, smoking bans are unheard of or unenforced.

The only country to have banned the sale and smoking of tobacco in public entirely is Bhutanmarker.Also, according to Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper, The Holy City of Al-Madinahmarker in the western province of Saudi Arabiamarker is considered to be the largest area in the world with a smoking ban.

Cigarette advertising

In many parts of the world, tobacco advertising and sponsorship of sporting events is prohibited. The ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship in the European Union in 2005 has prompted Formula One Management to look for venues that permit display of the livery of tobacco sponsors, and has led to some of the races on the calendar being canceled in favor of tobacco-friendly markets. As of 2008, only one Formula One team, Scuderia Ferrari, receives sponsorship from a tobacco company. Marlboro branding appears on its cars in two races; Monaco and China, as neither bans tobacco advertising.

MotoGP team Ducati Marlboro receives sponsorship from a Marlboro branding which appears at races in Qatar and China.On 1 July 2009 Irelandmarker banned the advertising and display of tobacco products in all retail outlets. This means that shops will have to store cigarettes in closed containers out of sight of customers.

Public support for smoking bans

A 2007 Gallup poll found that 54% of Americans favored a complete ban inside of restaurants, 34%favored a ban in all hotel rooms, and 29% favored a ban inside of bars.

Another Gallup poll, of over 26,500 Europeans, conducted in December 2008, found that "a majority of EU citizens support smoke-free public places, such as offices, restaurants and bars." The poll further found that "support for workplace smoking restrictions is slightly higher than support for such restrictions in restaurants (84% vs. 79%). Two-thirds support smoke-free bars, pubs and clubs." The support is highest in countries which have implemented strict smoking bans: "Citizens in Italy are the most prone to accept smoking restrictions in bars, pubs and clubs (93% – 87% “totally in favour”). Sweden and Ireland join Italy at the higher end of the scale with approximately eight out of 10 respondents supporting smoke-free bars, pubs and clubs (70% in both countries is totally in favour)."

Effects of bans

Safety issues and effects on mental health

Enforcement of a ban can cause resentment among smokers, with potentially serious consequences. In July 2009 a Turkish restaurant owner was murdered by a customer after attempting to enforce the recently implemented smoking ban. Resentment on the part of smokers over enforcement of a ban, or on the part of non-smokers over violation non-enforcement of a ban, is sometimes referred to as "smoke rage".

Effects on health

Several studies have documented health and economic benefits related to smoking bans. In the first 18 months after Pueblo, Coloradomarker enacted a 2003 smoking ban, hospital admissions for heart attacks dropped by 27% while admissions in neighboring towns without smoking bans showed no change. The decline in heart attacks was attributed to the smoking ban, which reduced exposure to secondhand smoke. A similar study in Helena, Montanamarker found a 40% reduction in heart attacks following the imposition of a smoking ban. However, a larger and more recent study found that workplace bans in the USA are not associated with statistically significant short-term declines in mortality or hospital admissions for myocardial infarction or other diseases.

Researchers at the University of Dundeemarker found significant improvements in bar workers' lung function and inflammatory markers attributed to a smoking ban; the benefits were particularly pronounced for bar workers with asthma. The Bar Workers' Health and Environment Tobacco Smoke Exposure (BHETSE) study found the percentage of all workers reporting respiratory symptoms, such as wheezing, shortness of breath, cough and phlegm production, fell from 69% to 57%. A group of researchers from Turinmarker, Italymarker found that a smoking ban had significantly reduced heart attacks in the city, and attributed most of the reduction to decreased secondhand-smoke exposure. A comprehensive smoking ban in New Yorkmarker was found to have prevented 3,813 hospital admissions for heart attacks in 2004, and to have saved $56 million in health-care costs for the year.

Effects on tobacco use

One report stated that cigarette sales in Ireland and Scotland increased after a smoking ban. In contrast, another report states that in Ireland, cigarette sales fell by 16% in the six months after the ban's introduction. In the UK, cigarette sales fell by 11% during July 2007, the first month of the smoking ban in England, compared with July 2006.

A 1992 document from Phillip Morris summarized the tobacco industry's concern about the effects of a ban: "Total prohibition of smoking in the workplace strongly effects tobacco industry volume. Smokers facing these restrictions consume 11%–15% less than average and quit at a rate that is 84% higher than average."

In the United Statesmarker, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a leveling off of smoking rates in recent years despite a large number of ever more severe smoking bans and large tax increases. It has also been suggested that a "backstop" of hardcore smokers has been reached: those unmotivated and increasingly defiant in the face of further legislation.

In Swedenmarker, use of snus, as an alternative to smoking, has risen steadily since the smoking ban.

Smoking bans may make it easier for smokers to quit. A survey suggests 22% of UK smokers may quit in response to a smoking ban in enclosed public places.

Restaurant smoking bans may help stop young people from becoming habitual smokers. A study of Massachusetts youths, found that those in towns with bans were 35 percent less likely to be habitual smokers.

Effects on businesses

Many studies have been published in the health industry literature on the economic effect of smoke-free policies. The majority have found that there is no negative economic impact associated with bans and many findings that there may be a positive effect on local businesses. A 2003 review of 97 such studies of the economic effects of a smoking ban on the hospitality industry found that the "best-designed" studies concluded that smoking bans did not harm businesses.

The converse argument is that a ban on smoking prevents businesses from meeting the desires of their customers, and thereby has negative effects on smoking customers' ability to have their desires met. Even in the absence of smoking bans, businesses could implement a smoke-free environment. Customers will factor in the negative or positive effects of an establishment's environment when choosing whether or not to patronize it. According to this argument, therefore, businesses benefit when they have the freedom to provide the environment that their customers value most.

Economist David R. Henderson disputes the notion that smoke in a restaurant is an externality. The customer chooses the restaurant, and the smokiness is no more external to his/her decision than the restaurant’s décor or music volumes. A restaurant is an enclosed private place that people easily and freely choose to visit or not. The restaurant’s air quality is just another dimension of the service, like heating or tidiness. Henderson also argues that this economic argument applies to workers in restaurants as well. The restaurant’s air quality is just another aspect of the job, and if workers are harder to recruit because of the detriments of working in an environment contaminated by second-hand smoke, the employer may have to pay them more, a standard wage differential.

Studies funded by the bar and restaurant associations sometimes find that smoking legislation has a negative effect on restaurant and bar profits. Such associations have also criticized studies which found no that such legislation had no impact by arguing that these studies may have included fast food businesses in the numbers, excluded businesses that closed during the study time frame, pointed to marginal growth while other businesses fair far better in surrounding communities, cherry-picked data that supports their assertions, and possibly withheld negative data. and replacing negative data with opinion polls.

The following are some examples:the Dallasmarker Restaurant Association funded a study that showed a $11.8 million decline in alcohol sales ranging from 9 to 50% in Denton, Texasmarker.A 2004 study by Ridgewood Economic Associates LTD funded by the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association found a loss of 2000 jobs, $28.5 million dollar loss in wages, and a loss of $37 million in New Yorkmarker State product.A 2004 study for the National Restaurant Association of the United States conducted by Deloitte and Touche found a significant negative impact.The restaurant Association of Marylandmarker found sales tax receipts for establishments falling 11% in their study.Carroll and Associates found bars sales decreased from 18.7 to 24.3% in the Ottawamarker, Canadamarker area following a bar smoking ban.The Buckeye Liquor Permit Holders Association reported that liquor sales were down over $67 million dollars while sales for home consumption increased and asked for the bar smoking ban to be amended in Ohiomarker.


A government survey in Sydneymarker found that the proportion of the population attending pubs and clubs rose after the introduction of a ban on smoking in enclosed places. However, a ClubsNSW report in August 2008 blamed the smoking ban for New South Wales clubs suffering their worst fall in income ever, amounting to a decline of $385 million. Income for clubs was down 11% in New South Wales. Sydney CBD club income fell 21.7% and western Sydney clubs lost 15.5%.


The smoking ban could be a factor of the increase of bar bankruptcies in the first half of 2008.


Smoking bans were introduced in German hotels, restaurants, and bars in 2008 and early 2008. The restaurant industry has claimed that many businesses in the states which introduced a smoking ban in late 2007 (Lower Saxonymarker, Baden-Württembergmarker, and Hessenmarker) witnessed lowered profits. The German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA) claimed that the ban deterred people from going out for a drink or meal, stating that 15% of establishments that adopted a smoking ban in 2007 saw turnover fall by around 50%.


In the Republic of Irelandmarker, the main opposition was from publicans. The Irish workplace ban was introduced with the intention of protecting workers from passive smoking ("second-hand smoke") and to discourage smoking in a nation with a high percentage of smokers. Many pubs introduced "outdoor" arrangements (generally heated areas with shelters) though many customers now choose to drink at home or at parties, which has had the effect of aiding the off licence trade.

Ireland's Office of Tobacco Control website indicates that "an evaluation of the official hospitality sector data shows there has been no adverse economic effect from the introduction of this measure (the March 2004 national ban on smoking in bars, restaurants, etc). It has been claimed that the ban was a significant contributing factor to the closure of hundreds of small rural pubs, with almost 440 fewer licenses renewed in 2006 than in 2005.

United Kingdom

The ban came into force in Wales on 2 April 2007. Six months after the ban's implementation in Walesmarker, the Licensed Victuallers Association (LVA), which represents pub operators across Walesmarker, claimed pubs had lost up to 20% of their trade. The LVA says some businesses were on the brink of closure, others had already closed down, and there was little optimism trade would eventually return to pre-ban levels.

In September 2007, Japan Tobacco announced it would be closing its cigar factory in Cardiffmarker, Walesmarker, resulting in the loss of 184 jobs. It would move its operations to Northern Irelandmarker with the creation of 95 jobs. It was indicated by the company that a 50% fall in tobacco sales since 1999 had led to the closure of the factory, and that this had been accelerated by the smoking ban.

Three months after the ban in Englandmarker came into force, The Rank Group, owners of Mecca Bingo Halls and Grosvenor Casinos, claimed that coupled with the Gambling Act 2005 which imposed restrictions on the number of £500 jackpot fruit machines, the smoking ban had had a detrimental impact upon its profits.

Bingo hall customers have declined by 600,000 since the ban's introduction. Combined with the negative impact on revenue of the smoking ban, and government tax rules, one third of bingo halls are facing closure.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), which represents pubs and breweries across the UK claimed beer sales are at their lowest level since the 1930s. The BBPA sustained a fall in sales of 7% during 2007 to the smoking ban.

According to a survey conducted by pub and bar trade magazine The Publican, the anticipated increase in sales of food following the smoking ban has not occurred. The trade magazine's survey of 303 pubs in the United Kingdommarker found the average customer spent £14.86 on food and drink at dinner in 2007, virtually identical to 2006.

A survey conducted by BII (formerly British Institute of Innkeeping) and the Federation of Licensed Victuallers' Associations (FLVA) concluded that sales had decreased by 7.3% in the 5 months since the smoking ban's introduction on 1 July 2007. Of the 2,708 responses to the survey, 58% of licensees said they had seen smokers visiting less regularly, while 73% had seen their smoking customers spending less time at the pub.

The smoking ban has been partly blamed for Sports Cafe bars group going into administration.

Britain's largest pub operator, Punch Taverns, have reported an estimated 5% decline in trading throughout the traditionally busy Christmas period, which the company attributes to diminishing consumer confidence and the effects of the smoking ban.

In June 2008, a spokeswoman for Punch Taverns said the change had given the industry the opportunity to attract new customers and concentrate on growth areas such as food - which is more profitable than drink sales. Gerard Tempest, marketing director for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, said: "The ban has had no real negative effect. Our staff are happier and we are seeing many more families." Rupert Clevely of Geronimo Inns said drink sales had risen by more than 5%, with a double-digit rise in food sales.

United States

In the USA, smokers and hospitality businesses initially argued that businesses would suffer from smoking bans. However, a 2006 review by the U.S. Surgeon General found that smoking bans were unlikely to harm businesses in practice, and that many restaurants and bars might see increased business.

The state of Californiamarker enacted a statewide smoking ban effective January 1, 1995, banning the activity in all enclosed workplaces in California and within 20 feet of such places, including restaurants and bars (bars were excluded until January 1, 1998). In 2002, an amendment to the Floridamarker Constitution prohibited smoking in all enclosed indoor workplaces, except stand-alone bars, tobacco stores, private homes when no business was being conducted there, and designated guest rooms at lodging establishments. In 2003, New York Citymarker amended its anti-smoking law to include all restaurants and bars, including those in private clubs, making it, along with the California ban, one of the toughest in the United States. The city's Department of Health found in a 2004 study that air pollution levels had decreased sixfold in bars and restaurants after the ban went into effect, and that New Yorkers had reported less second-hand smoke in the workplace. The study also found the city's restaurants and bars prospered despite the smoking ban, with increases in jobs, liquor licenses, and business tax payments. The President of the New York nightlife association stated that business had been harmed and that the Department of Health had included all restaurants in the figures, including "Starbucks and McDonald's". A 2006 study by the state of New York found similar results; business had improved despite the smoking ban. According to the 2004 Zagat Survey, which polled nearly 30,000 New York City restaurant patrons, respondents said by a margin of almost 6 to 1 that they eat out more often now because of the city's smoke-free policy. Similar smoking bans modeled after NYC's were soon implemented in neighboring states and further beyond; New York State in July 2003, Connecticut in January 2004, New Jersey in April 2006, Ohio in Fall 2007. On July 1, 2008, Iowa also passed smoking ban legislation, which took a step further and banned smoking from state properties, including public colleges such as the University of Iowamarker.

Some individuals have reported far different results. Michael Pakko of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has posted several analyses of the negative economic impact of smoking bans on restaurants and bars, including generally, in Columbia, Missourimarker, and at Delawaremarker gambling facilities.

Effects on musical instruments

Bellows-driven instruments – such as the accordion, concertina, melodeon and Uilleann (or Irish) bagpipes – reportedly need less frequent cleaning and maintenance as a result of the Irish smoking ban.

Effects on tourism

Some areas with a large tourism trade are concerned about the impact of a smoking ban on their tourism market. In Hawaiimarker, for example, several tourism monitoring agencies reported that the ban may have had a significant negative impact on tourism, based on government numbers and industry feedback. Overall tourism was down 6% and the key Japanesemarker market was down 12% in Hawaii.

Effects on law enforcement

Another effect of smoking bans has been the smokeasy. As the speakeasy was to alcohol prohibition in the early 20th century, so is the smokeasy to smoking bans: it is a business, especially a bar, which allows smoking despite a legal prohibition. Numerous clandestine smokeasies exist in most jurisdictions with smoking bans in bars and restaurants, and have been noted widely, including in New York Citymarker, Hawaiimarker, Albertamarker, Arizonamarker, Bostonmarker, Californiamarker, Coloradomarker, Columbia, Missourimarker, Delawaremarker, Dublinmarker, Germanymarker, Illinoismarker, Manitobamarker, Minnesotamarker, Ohiomarker, the Netherlandsmarker, Philadelphiamarker, Qatarmarker, Scotlandmarker, Seattlemarker, Torontomarker, the United Kingdommarker, Utahmarker, and Washington, D.C.marker.

As a result, jurisdictions which have passed smoking ban often unexpectedly find themselves having to use law enforcement to enforce their smoking bans.

According to the Roofie Foundation, a charity said to be the only agency in the United Kingdommarker addressing the issues surrounding sex abuse through drink spiking, the number of cases of drink spiking reported to it has risen markedly since the introduction of the smoking ban in Englandmarker as a result of smokers leaving their drink unattended while going off for a smoke.

Effects of prison smoking bans

Prisons have increasingly been banning tobacco smoking. In the United States, some states with smoke-free prison policies only ban indoor smoking whereas others ban smoking on the entire prison grounds. In July, 2004 the Federal Bureau of Prisons adopted a smoke-free policy for its facilities. A 1993 Supreme Court ruling acknowledged that a prisoner's exposure to second-hand smoke could be regarded as cruel and unusual punishment (which would be in violation of the Eighth Amendment). But a 1997 ruling in Massachusettsmarker established that prison smoking bans do not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Many officials view prison smoking bans as a means of reducing health-care costs.

Prison officials and guards are often concerned based on previous events in other prisons concerning riots, fostering a cigarette black market within the prison, and other problems resulting from a total prison smoking ban. Prisons have experienced riots when placing smoking bans into effect resulting in prisoners setting fires, destroying prison property, persons being assaulted, injured, and stabbed. One prison in Canada had some guards reporting breathing difficulties from the fumes of prisoners smoking artificial cigarettes made from nicotine patches lit by creating sparks from inserting metal objects into electrical outlets. For example in 2008, the Orsainville Detention Centre near Quebec City, withdrew its smoking ban following a riot. But the feared increase in tension and violence expected in association with smoking bans has generally not been seen.

Response of businesses following a smoking ban

Actions by hospitality businesses against smoking bans have included protests, pickets at state capitals or other bodies of lawmakers, bills to repeal the ban, open defience, and lawsuits. In November 2008 between 1500 to 5000 cafe owners took to the streets in the Haguemarker to protest the July 2008 Dutch smoking ban which owners claim has cost them 1/3 of their business. Also many Dutch cafes have given up on enforcing the ban and chosen to bring their smoking customers back by becoming a smokeasy, in spite of the risk of fines being levied up to €18,500.

However there are cases when some businesses that find themselves content with the ban. These tend to be more upscale restaurants and bars, such as fine dining establishments and wine bars.

Criticism of bans

Smoking bans have been criticised on a number of grounds:

Government interference with personal lifestyle or property rights

Critics of smoking bans, including comedian Dave Chappelle, artist Joe Jackson, actress Natasha Richardson, and essayist and political critic Christopher Hitchens, have claimed that bans are misguided efforts of retrograde Puritans. Typically, this argument is based on John Stuart Mill's harm principle, interpreting smoking bans as ban on tobacco consumption instead of ban on harming other people.

Other critics emphasize the property rights of business owners, drawing a distinction between public places (such as government buildings) and privately-owned establishments (such as bars and restaurants). Citing economic efficiency, some economists suggest that the basic institutions of private property rights and contractual freedom are capable of resolving conflicts between the preferences of smokers and those who seek a smoke-free environment, without government intrusion.


Businesses affected by smoking bans have filed lawsuits claiming that bans are unconstitutional or otherwise illegal. In the United Statesmarker, some cite unequal protection under the law while others cite loss of business without compensation, as well as other types of challenges. Some localities where hospitality businesses filed lawsuits against the State or local government include, Nevadamarker, Montanamarker, Iowamarker, Coloradomarker, Kentuckymarker, New Yorkmarker, South Carolinamarker, and Hawaiimarker. Such lawsuits have generally been unsuccessful.

Bans may move smoking elsewhere

Bans on smoking in offices and other enclosed public places often result in smokers going outside to smoke, frequently congregating outside doorways. Many jurisdictions that have banned smoking in enclosed public places have extended the ban to cover areas within a fixed distance of entrances to buildings.

The former British Cabinet Member John Reid claimed that bans on smoking in public places may lead to more smoking at home. However, both the House of Commonsmarker Health committee and the Royal College of Physiciansmarker disagreed, with the former finding no evidence to support Reid's claim after studying Ireland, and the latter finding that smoke-free households increased from 22% to 37% between 1996 and 2003.

Local bans lead to increase in DUI fatalities

In May 2008, research published by Adams and Cotti in the Journal of Public Economics examined statistics of drunken-driving fatalities and accidents in areas where smoking bans in bars have been implemented and found that fatal drunken-driving accidents increased by about 13 percent, or about 2.5 such accidents per year for a typical county.

Effects of Funding on Research Literature

As in other areas of research, the effect of funding on research literature has been discussed with respect to smoking bans. Most commonly, studies which found few or no positive and/or negative effects of smoking bans and which were funded by tobacco companies have been delegitimized because they were seen as biased in favor of their funders.

Professor of Economics at the California State Polytechnic University-San Luis Obispo, Michael L. Marlow, defended "tobacco-sponsored" studies arguing that all studies merited "scrutiny and a degree of skepticism," irrespective of their funding. He wished for the basic assumption that every author were "fair minded and trustworthy, and deserves being heard out" and for less attention to research funding when evaluating the results of a study. Marlow suggests that studies funded by tobacco companies are viewed and dismissed as "deceitful," i.e. as being driven by (conscious) bad intention.

Alternatives to bans

Incentives for voluntarily smoke-free establishments

Some smoking ban opponents concede that in many localities, the number of smoke-free bars and restaurants is insufficient to meet the needs and wants of residents who prefer a smoke-free environment. In order to encourage the creation of more smoke-free businesses, some experts and politicians support tax credits and other financial incentives for businesses that enact non-smoking policies. During the debates over the Washington, DCmarker smoking ban, city council member Carol Schwartz proposed legislation that would have enacted either a substantial tax credit for businesses that chose to ban smoking or a significant additional licensing fee for bars and restaurants that wished to allow smoking. Proponents of such policies claim that they would help to increase the options for customers and employees who prefer a smoke-free bar or restaurant without infringing on the rights of business owners. Opponents of such tax measures counter that only a complete ban can fully protect patrons and employees.

Tradable smoking pollution permits

One solution to the problem of smoking externalities favoured by some economists is a system of tradable smoking pollution permits, similar to other emissions trading (cap-and-trade) pollution permits systems used by the Environmental Protection Agency in recent decades to curb other types of pollution. The proposal has been suggested by Profs. Robert Haveman and John Mullahy of the University of Wisconsin–Madisonmarker.

Emissions trading systems are generally favored by economists as a market-based alternative to direct regulation, because they yield a given reduction in pollution at lower cost, and may permit a reduction in administrative costs.

Tradable pollution permits as a market-based alternative to smoking bans can be applied as follows: Lawmakers decide the optimal level of smoking establishments for an area. Permits are then auctioned off or otherwise allocated. Nonsmoking establishments with unused permits can sell them on the open market to smoking establishments. In essence, businesses are required to purchase the property rights over the clean air space of their business before their customers can smoke.


Critics of bans suggest ventilation is a means of reducing the harmful effects of passive smoking. A study conducted by the School of Technology of the University of Glamorganmarker in Walesmarker, United Kingdommarker, published in the Building Services Journal stated that ventilation systems can dramatically improve indoor air quality.

A study by Repace titled "Can Displacement Ventilation control SecondHand ETS?". The conclusion is a no, ventilation is no substitute for a smoking ban.

A published 2008 hospitality air quality study conducted by the Hawaiimarker Department of Health found the the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 24 hour permissible exposure limits for respirable suspended particles known as PM-2.5 were only exceeded in bars and restaurants that were totally enclosed and had no ventilation. The study states that PM-2.5 is a "useful marker for the 4000 compounds" in environmental tobacco smoke. In addition these results showed that even the highest concentrations found in unventilated bars which in some cases significantly exceeding the EPA standards of 0.065 milligrams per cubic meter, were no greater than 1/5th of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration permissible standards of five milligrams per cubic meter of air.

The tobacco industry has focused on proposing ventilation as an alternative to smoking bans, though this approach has not been widely adopted in the U.S. due to the cost and complexity of widespread implementation of ventilation devices. The Italian smoking ban permits dedicated smoking rooms with automatic doors and smoke extractors. Nevertheless, few Italian establishments are creating smoking rooms due to the additional cost.


A number of States in the United States have "preemption clauses" within State law which block local communities from passing smoking ban ordinances more strict than the State laws on the books. The rationale is to prevent local communities from passing smoking bans that are viewed as excessive by that State's legislature. Other States have "anti-preemption clauses" that allow local communities to pass smoking ban ordinances that their legislature found unacceptable.

Hardship exemptions

In some communities, establishments were able to prove that they did in fact suffer substantial financial loss as a direct result of a smoking ban and received hardship waivers from the governing entity which passed the ban.

See also



  1. (UK Health Secretary: The smoking ban "is a huge step forward for public health and will help reduce deaths from cancer, heart disease and other smoking related diseases") See also WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control; First international treaty on public health, adopted by 192 countries and signed by 168. See in particular Article 8 Protection from exposure to tobacco smoke.
  2. Health Effects of Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke: A monograph from the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Retrieved August 6, 2007.
  3. Secondhand Smoke Fact Sheet, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed August 6, 2007.
  4. Environmental Tobacco Smoke. From the 11th Report on Carcinogens of the National Institutes of Health. Retrieved August 6, 2007.
  5. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Dated June 27, 2006. Retrieved August 6, 2007.
  6. Tobacco Smoke and Involuntary Smoking: A monograph of the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization. Retrieved August 6, 2007.
  7. Department of Conservation{{
  8. ITC - Bhutan
  9. [1] from, Asharq Al-Awsat, 21 Sept. 2007
  10. More Smokers Feeling Harassed by Smoking Bans
  11. Hurriyet, 30 July 2009, also reported by Reuters: "Smoking-ban murder", 31 July 2009,
  12. Ban sees bar staff 'breathe easy'
  13. BBC Cigarette sales 'slump after ban' 2 October 2007
  14. Washington Post
  15. (sv) SVD: Folkhälsoinstitutet: Snus ger cancer
  16. BBC News A fifth of smokers 'plan to quit' 8 March 2006
  17. Restaurant smoking bans stop teens getting the habit New Scientist Issue 2655, 10 May 2008, page 4
  18. Henderson, David R. "Smoking in Restaurants: Who Best to Set the House Rules?" (Sep 2007). [2]
  19. Smoking ban's effect on bars needs study | | Editorial | /2008/03/17/
  20. "Economic impacts" Tavern League of Wisconsin(broken link)
  21. "The Economic Impact of the New York State Smoking Ban on New York’s Bars" Tavern League of Wisconsin
  22. "Evans Report Summary (Canada)" Tavern League of Wisconsin (broken link)
  23. Home
  24. The Australian
  26. Germany's Smoking Ban Spreads Through States, Deutsche Welle, 14 January, 2007
  27. No smoke makes Rank fire off profit warning 14 October 2007, The Daily Telegraph
  28. CLUBS FACING AXE AS SMOKING BAN BITES 21 October 2007, The Sunday Mirror
  29. Pub beer sales slump to low point 20 November 2007, BBC News
  30. Smoke Ban Fails To Boost Pub Meal Sales 26 November 2007, SKY News
  31. Smoking ban 'costs pub takings' 17 December 2007, BBC News
  32. Sports Cafe shuts doors as ban on smoking partly to blame 15 January 2008, Liverpool Daily Post
  33. Punch first to report smoke damage 17 January 2008, The Guardian
  34. Smoking ban a success say some pubs
  35. Bars and Restaurants Thrive Amid Smoking Ban, Study Says 29 March 2003, The New York Times
  36. Michael Pakko, "The Economic Impact of a Smoking Ban in Columbia, Missouri: A Preliminary Analysis of Sales Tax Data" (Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis: December 11, 2007)
  37. See also:
  38. John F. Garvey, Paul McElwaine, Thomas S. Monaghan, and Walter T. McNicholas Confessions of an accordion cleaner – a marker of improved air quality since the Irish smoking ban BMJ 24 September 2007
  39. Tourist office's aloha ashtrays raise a stink, August 28, 2007
  40. Hawaii Tourism Slumps on Heels of Smoking Ban - Travel and Tourism News from Send2Press Newswire Mar 12, 2007
  41. "Waiting to inhale", The New York Times, January 4, 2004 See also: "Lighting-up time: Big Apple meets Big Smoke," The Times, April 1, 2005. See also "Gangsters will be the real winners in smoking ban," Scottish Daily Record, January 7, 2005. "Smoked out?" The Buffalo News, February 18, 2004."N.Y. restaurants cutting trans fat from menus," The Washington Times, December 6, 2006. "The Guide to the Guides," The Observer (United Kingdom), January 30, 2005. "A year after New York smoking ban, debate still rages over effects," The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 31, 2004. "Late Night Cracks in City's Ban," New York Post, March 4, 2004. "On The Run," The New York Times, June 8, 2003.
  42. Collette Derworiz, "City to enforce smoking ban: Bylaw officers will charge bar owners flouting rules," The Calgary Herald, January 11, 2007
  43. "Tempe wants to wipe out its 'smoke-easies,' The Arizona Republic, August 8, 2002
  44. "Where there's smoke," Boston Magazine, May, 2005.
  45. "California's Ban to Clear Smoke Inside Most Bars" The New York Times, December 31, 1997 See also: "The Land of Smoke-Easies, $500 Barfs" The San Francisco Chronicle, May 15, 1998 "Suck It Up," SF Weekly, January 22, 2003
  46. "Bars rebel against smoking ban," The Colorado Springs Gazette, March 28, 2007
  47. "Tickets add heat to ban on smoking," Columbia Tribune, March 3, 2007
  48. "Smoking bans burn businesses," Delaware News Journal, December 15, 2002
  49. "Beware of complacency as 'smoke-easies' appear", The Irish News, June 12, 2007
  50. Eric Petersen, "Three Schaumburg businesses violate new smoking ban," The Arlington Heights Daily Herald, March, 2007 See also:
  51. Michelle MacAfee, "Manitobans smoke it up," The Canadian Press, October 31, 2004 David Schmeichel, "Smoke cops strike: Treherne hotelier vows to fight 'fascist law,'" The Winnipeg Sun, November 13, 2004
  52. G.R. Anderson, Jr., "Busted: The rumor and truth of one club's struggle against the smoking ban," City Pages, February 17, 2006
  53. Tracy Wheeler, "Smoking ban leaves some bars smoldering," The Akron Beacon Journal, November 18, 2007 See also: Elaine T. Secora, "Smoke and fire," Cleveland Scene, January 31, 2007 "smoke-easies, altoid tins, blue moon, janis joplin and vivid imaginations" Yellow Is The Color Blog
  54. AFP: Dutch cafe owners rally against smoking ban
  55. "New vice, same solutions," Philadelphia Daily News, March 26, 2007 See also: "Smoke-easies", Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, March 28, 2007 Natalie Pompilio, "Ban hardly a crushing blow," The Philadelphia Inquirer, November, 2006
  56. "Law or no law, Seattle bars still smoking," UPI, June 1, 2006
  57. "Speakeasies? Nah, smoke-easies" , The Toronto Sun, May 25, 2006
  58. "Defiant bar owner finds 'loophole' to flout smoking ban," The Daily Mail, August 3, 2007
  59. "Everyone Head for the Smoke-Easy", Utah Statesman, December 12, 2006
  60. "Smoke-easies offer cover from puff police; Aficionados just want a place to light up, relax," The Washington Times, November 20, 2003
  61. "Cig-ban Scofflaws light up Ash-Toria," The New York Post, May 8, 2006.
  62. Smoking ban 'increase in spiking' BBC News, 21 November, 2007
  63. The Smokers Club, Inc. - Prison Ban Casualty
  64. Prisoner riot reverses smoking ban |
  65. Some Bars Pan Hawaii's Tough Smoking Ban - Health News - redOrbit
  66. Hawaii Reporter: Hawaii Reporter
  67. Dave Stuart of Indigo, Bar 35 and Brasserie Du Vin | KGMB9 News Hawa
  68. Trade looks up at wine bar. | Article from Diss Express (Diss, England) | HighBeam Research
  69. Public smoking ban hits pubs' beer sales | Business | The Observer
  70. The American Spectator : Smoking Room
  71. Is the smoking ban a good idea? | Society | The Guardian
  72. Judge Rules Nevada Smoking Ban is Constitutional - Las Vegas Now |
  73. Montana Gaming Group, effect of public smoking ban on Montana businesses | smoking ban in public areas | Helena Montana smoking ban | environmental tobacco smoke | economic da...
  74. Seven businesses sue over smoking ban
  75. Anti-smoking law challenged | The Honolulu Advertiser | Hawaii's Newspaper
  76. Colorado AG Asks State Smoking Ban Lawsuit Be Dismissed [06/23/06-4]
  77. Lawsuit Challenges Louisville's Smoking Ban - Louisville News Story - WLKY Louisville
  79. Health board stands by smoking ban,: Lawsuit alleges group overstepped its authority | Article from Charleston Gazette | HighBeam Research
  80. e.g. mentioned on p. 167 in David R. Henderson (May 2008). Smoking in Restaurants: Rejoinder to Alamar and Glantz. Econ Journal Watch, Volume 5, Number 2, pp. 163-168. (retrieved 19 November 2009)
  81. Marlow, Michael L. 2008. Honestly, Who Else Would Fund Such Research? Reflections of a Non-Smoking Scholar. Econ Journal Watch 5(2): 240- 268. [3]
  83. Building Services Journal No ifs or butts March 2005
  84. [4]
  85. TABLE Z-1 Limits for Air Contaminants. - 1910.1000 TABLE Z-1
  86. BBC News Italians fume over cigarette curb 10 January, 2005
  87. Allegheny County smoking ban put on hold
  88. Hector's wants longer exemption See also: D.C. Grants First Exemption to Smoking Ban [5] The Gazette, Gaithersburg, MD,

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