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Eur J Public Health. 2012 Feb;22 Suppl 1:4-9. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckr203.

Comparative impact of smoke-free legislation on smoking cessation in three European countries.

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  • 1Maastricht University, CAPHRI, The Netherlands.



Little is known about the differential impact of comprehensive and partial smoke-free legislation on smoking cessation. This study aimed to examine the impact of comprehensive smoke-free workplace legislation in Ireland and England, and partial hospitality industry legislation in the Netherlands on quit attempts and quit success.


Nationally representative samples of 2,219 adult smokers were interviewed in three countries as part of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Europe Surveys. Quit attempts and quit success were compared between period 1 (in which smoke-free legislation was implemented in Ireland and the Netherlands) and period 2 (in which smoke-free legislation was implemented in England).


In Ireland, significantly more smokers attempted to quit smoking in period 1 (50.5%) than in period 2 (36.4%) (p < 0.001). Percentages of quit attempts and quit success did not change significantly between periods in the Netherlands. English smokers were significantly more often successful in their quit attempt in period 2 (47.3%) than in period 1 (26.4%) (p = 0.011). In the first period there were more quit attempts in Ireland than in England and fewer in the Netherlands than in Ireland. Fewer smokers quitted successfully in the second period in both Ireland and the Netherlands than in England.


The comprehensive smoke-free legislation in Ireland and England may have had positive effects on quit attempts and quit success respectively. The partial smoke-free legislation in the Netherlands probably had no effect on quit attempts or quit success. Therefore, it is recommended that countries implement comprehensive smoke-free legislation.

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