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Smoke-free law outcomes

Coffee shop staff

The Smoke-Free Premises etc (Wales) Regulations 2007 came into force on 2 April 2007, ending smoking in enclosed and substantially enclosed public places in Wales.

This section provides a summary of the early outcomes of the legislation as well as enforcement data.

Compliance with the legislation is high

Compliance with the legislation has reflected the high levels of public support.  Returns from local authorities (LA) show smoke-free compliance levels across Wales of around 97 per cent. This is on a par with returns from the Republic of Ireland and the other UK countries.

Public support for the legislation is continuing to grow

Opinion survey findings show that since the legislation was introduced, public support has risen to 84 per cent of adults in Wales (92 per cent of non-smokers and 63 per cent of smokers). This compares with:

  • 71 per cent of adults in February 2006; 
  • 77 per cent of adults in February 2007 (88 per cent of non-smokers and 51 per cent of smokers).

Air quality has improved

Air quality can be monitored by measuring levels of airborn particles. Monitoring by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has shown that air quality in pubs has improved significantly since the introduction of the smoke-free legislation, with particulate levels falling by an average of 77%.

People are smoking less

30 per cent of smokers interviewed in a Welsh Omnibus Survey in 2008 said that they were smoking fewer cigarettes since the introduction of the ban.

More people are giving up smoking

Stop Smoking Wales has reported a 20 per cent increase in people contacting the service in response to the introduction of the smoke-free legislation. The service provides group and one to one support to help smokers quit.  

Monitoring and evaluation of smoke-free legislation

Research has been commissioned on outcomes of the legislation, including changes in knowledge and attitudes, changes in smoking and drinking behaviours, and adult and childhood exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Initial findings should be available in autumn 2008.  

Data is being collected through routine monitoring on the following topics:

  • Smoking prevalence by age, gender, socio-economic group and LA area (through the Welsh Health Survey);
  • Changes in mortality and morbidity;
  • Compliance and enforcement (through Local Authority monitoring returns).

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In this section, you can find answers to questions most commonly asked.
Second-hand smoke, sometimes referred to as passive smoking, means breathing in other people’s tobacco smoke.