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Nicotine Tob Res. 2009 Dec;11(12):1424-30. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntp155. Epub 2009 Oct 29.

Public health or social impacts? A qualitative analysis of attitudes toward the smoke-free legislation in Scotland.

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School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, PR1 2HE, UK.



Introduction of smoke-free legislation presents a unique opportunity to study how population-level interventions can challenge existing smoking norms. Our study examined support and opposition to the Scottish legislation and ascertained the relative importance of social and health factors in shaping attitudes among bar customers.


Repeat (pre-/post-legislation) recorded and transcribed semistructured interviews with customers (n = 67/62) of eight community bars in contrasting settings were conducted, and data were analyzed thematically.


While the legislation was marketed primarily in terms of gains to public and individual health, supportive and opposing responses to the legislation tended to be framed around libertarian and practical factors. Attitudes tended to be stable across both waves of data collection.


It is concluded that reasons for smoking were not challenged by promotion of the legislation. In addition to a focus on health gains, social marketing of smoke-free legislation and initiatives may therefore benefit from a stronger focus on social and contextual effects of such policies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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