Medical Professionals Online

Smokefree England - The First Three Months

October 05, 2017

The introduction of smokefree workplaces and public places has run smoothly. People are particularly enjoying a healthier atmosphere in all workplaces including pubs and clubs, with the primary benefits of cleaner air and not smelling of smoke after a night out - according to a three-month report issued today by the Department of Health.

When surveyed, the top three benefits people had noticed since England became smokefree were:

1) Clothes & hair don't smell of smoke after visiting a pub or club

2) More pleasant or better atmosphere in pubs, clubs and/or restaurants

3) Cleaner air

Research found high levels of support for smokefree by both the general public and from businesses. Three quarters of adults support the law and 79 per cent believe it will have a positive effect on public health3. A greater proportion of smokers (47%) support the new law than oppose it (37%).

Of over 275,000 businesses inspected between July 1st and the end of September, 98 per cent were found to be compliant with the new law with 84 per cent were displaying the correct signage1.

86 per cent of businesses said the implementation of the new law had gone well and 78 per cent said it was "a good idea"4.

The number of calls to the smokefree compliance line has also tailed off considerably, falling from over 1,000 calls during the first week of operation down to an average of 20 a day in September2. Also, there have only been 70 fixed penalty notices issued to individuals smoking in smokefree places since July 1st, both of which suggest that as in Scotland and Ireland the ban has been largely self-enforced.

Minister of State for Public Health, Dawn Primarolo, said:

"Today's encouraging report confirms that smokefree law is not only popular, but that the vast majority of the general public believe it is good for public health. People of all ages are reaping the benefits of healthier, less smoky work and social environments, which in turn are seen as an incentive for many to get out and socialise more.

"I'm especially proud to hear that nine out of ten businesses say that implementation went well and that the majority of people, smokers included, are supportive of the new legislation. The evidence is clear, secondhand smoke is a killer and removing it from enclosed public and work environments marks the single biggest improvement in public health for a generation."

In the run-up to July 1st, Smokefree England provided detailed information and support to businesses as well as running a high profile campaign to ensure the general public were aware of and ready for the law. The figures speak for themselves: general awareness of smokefree law reached 98 per cent in mid-July. 85 per cent of adults said they'd seen publicity about the introduction of smokefree law, with 75 per cent citing TV ads; 41 per cent TV programmes; 30 per cent press ads and 21 per cent had seen Smokefree England ads on billboards. 49 per cent said the ads "stuck in their mind" and 91 per cent understood the message of the advertising.

The Smokefree England three month report and further information about the legislation can be found at smokefreeengland.

1. The compliance data has been compiled by Local Government Analysis and Research (LGAR), with cumulative figures derived from reports returned by local authorities relating to the period July 1st to September 30th 2007.

2. Data on calls to the compliance line provided by Broadsystems, which operates the line on behalf of the Department of Health.

3. The public awareness research was conducted on BMRB's face-to-face omnibus with c.1,700 adults aged 18+ interviewed between July 19th and July 25th 2007.

4. The business research was carried out on Continental Research's business omnibus with 455 business decision makers in England interviewed by telephone between August 6th and August 17th 2007. Weighting was applied by turnover, region and industry type to make the sample representative of the 1,084,000 companies in England with a turnover of £50,000+ as estimated by the DTI.