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Free Content Effects of a generalised ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, Italy

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CONTEXT: Italy implemented a law in January 2005 banning smoking in all enclosed public spaces.

OBJECTIVES: To document perceived obstacles and effects of the law and observed client smoking behaviours in bars and restaurants.

DESIGN: Four surveys were conducted between December 2004 and February 2006. Protocols and questionnaires were posted on a public health website to solicit participation among local health units (LHUs). Participating LHUs randomly selected 50 bars and restaurants using the electronic Yellow Pages. Self-administered questionnaires were delivered to owners or managers of selected locales; all of them were revisited during peak hours to collect questionnaires and observe client smoking.

RESULTS: Before the ban, smokers were observed in 31% of locales; 24% of owners predicted major financial losses. One year later, no smokers were observed and only 7% reported major financial losses. Only 30% had received law enforcement visits. Most owners/managers (88%) reported positive attitudes about the law and 79% reported such attitudes among clients.

CONCLUSIONS: The Italian smoking law has drastically reduced smoking in bars and restaurants despite minimal enforcement visits. Perceived negative effects on profits appear limited, and the owners and managers and their clients are satisfied.
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Keywords: Italy; laws; passive smoking

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: National Centre for Epidemiology, Surveillance, and Health Promotion, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy 2: Department of Prevention, Local Health Unit 1, Lecce, Puglia, Italy 3: Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Local Health Unit 2, Caserta, Campania, Italy 4: Public Health Department, Regional Health Agency, Catanzaro, Reggio Calabria, Italy 5: Public Health Department, Local Health Unit, Forlì, Emilia Romagna, Italy 6: Regional Epidemiologic Observatory, Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Publication date: 2007-05-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

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