Happy Birthday, Dear Smoking Ban!July 31, 2012
Yes, it’s five years since the ban on smoking in indoor public places came into force. Has the ban achieved anything? Or was the effort all a waste of time.
The answer is that the ban has been a spectacular and overwhelming success. The supporters hoped to see some benefit to those so-called “secondary smokers” – those who were not smokers themselves but were affected by the smoke of others.
This has indeed been the case. In Holland, a ban on smoking at work has cut heart attacks by an astonishing 12% while similar effects have been seen in Las Vegas.
Non-smokers find the clean air in pubs a revelation but do not buy more beer as a result; consumption of alcohol in pubs dropped by 8% annually (equivalent to 175,000,000 fewer pints), compared with 3% prior to the ban.
But the big effect has been one that was completely unexpected, and that is the number of people who have given up smoking altogether since the ban came into force. This subliminal effect has caused no less than 400,000 people to give up the habit! And that alone will save 40,000 deaths over the next 10 years.
No less than two billion fewer cigarettes were smoked in the year after the ban came into effect than before.
Now, only 22% of the population pollute the air by continuing to smoke causing more unpleasant air outside the pub than inside !
A survey by the British Lung Foundation found that more than half of the people with lung conditions suffered fewer attacks of breathlessness in pubs and restaurants.
So it really is a very, very happy day for the smoking ban.
Smoking cessation is one of many topics covered in our Respiratory Disease Management distance learning course.