Complete Smoking Bans Reduce Secondhand Smoke

Chile enacted national legislation restricting smoking in public places and workplaces in 2007. But research indicates that the country’s smoking ban provides no protection from secondhand smoke exposure to employees and customers in bars and restaurants because the law is not comprehensive. The partial smoking ban allows bars and restaurants to decide whether or not they will be smoke-free or to designate smoking and non-smoking areas.

There is urgent need to replace the current legislation with a comprehensive anti-smoking law that fully protects all people and workers from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in public places, according to a study that compared levels of secondhand smoke exposure in bars and restaurants in Santiago, Chile, before and after the implementation of the 2007 smoking ban. The study appears in the December 2010 issue of the journal Tobacco Control.

“Comprehensive smoke-free legislation is the best policy and the international standard to eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke in indoor public places and workplaces,” the study said.

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1. Erazo M, Iglesias V, Droppelmann A, et al. Secondhand tobacco smoke in bars and restaurants in Santiago, Chile: evaluation of partial smoking ban legislation in public places. Tobacco Control 2010; 19: 469-474. (open access)