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J Epidemiol Community Health. 2009 Jul;63(7):559-62. doi: 10.1136/jech.2008.084426. Epub 2009 Mar 15.

Medium-term effects of Italian smoke-free legislation: findings from four annual population-based surveys.

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  • 1Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Milan, Italy.



Italy was the first large country to ban smoking in all indoor public places, including restaurants and bars. The aim of this study was to quantify, 3 years after the law came into force, the effects of the smoking ban in terms of observance of the legislation and change of habits.


Data were considered from four representative surveys on smoking, conducted between 2005 and 2008 on a total of 12 245 individuals (5906 men and 6339 women) aged 15 years or over.


In 2008, more than 80% of Italians (more than 90% in northern Italy) had the perception that the smoking ban was respected in bars/cafes and restaurants, despite a slight reduction since 2005. In all the surveys combined, 75% of the Italian population reported that the smoking ban was respected in workplaces. Overall, approximately 10% of Italians reported that, after the implementation of the tobacco regulation, they went to bars/cafes and restaurants more frequently, and approximately 7% less frequently, than before.


The study shows that in Italy the smoke-free legislation did not affect the business of restaurants and bars, and remains widely respected 3 years after the law came into force.

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