All public places and workplaces in Sweden, including restaurants, bars, cafés and nightclubs became smokefree on 1 June 2005. The new law updated the Tobacco Act of 1994 by allowing for smokefree environments in all establishments that serve food. Restaurants and bars are allowed to set up designated smoking rooms (DSRs). These can only take up a small portion of the premises, must be ventilated, and non-smokers must not be forced to pass through them. No food may be served or taken into the DSRs. Very few DSRs have been set up to date.
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Preparation for smokefree legislation
The 2005 smoking ban was the culmination of fifty years of campaigning by many advocacy groups, including the Swedish Network for Tobacco Prevention (SNTP) and the National Public Health Committee. In 2001 a proposal was made for a 100% smoking ban. In 2002 Parliament decided that all serving establishments were to become smokefree. The primary motivation was to ensure that service personnel have the same right to protection from secondhand smoke as employees in other occupations. The Swedish government initially favoured a voluntary agreement on smokefree environments, but concluded in 2003 that legislation was needed.
Prior to the decision two information campaigns were coordinated by the SNTP – one aimed at decision-makers in the government and the restaurant association, the other aimed at the general public. Media releases were issued by the National Institute of Public Health during the months before implementation. Municipal and county authorities, NGOs, and the National Quitline issued numerous other press releases. There was positive media coverage of the new law. For more information on the campaign visit The Global Smokefree Partnership at www.globalsmokefree.com/gsp/index.php?section=article&id=5&parent=1&artigo=54
Enforcement and compliance
Compliance with the law has been high. Fewer than 2% of facilities have set up smoking rooms, and these have been mainly in nightclubs, casinos and bingo halls.
Priorities for the future are protecting the workers who are still exposed to secondhand smoke as well as children.
Smokefree resources available in 2009
Swedish Network for Tobacco Prevention
Health Professionals Against Tobacco, Sweden – a coalition of organisations www.tobaccoorhealthsweden.org
National Institute of Public Health www.fhi.se
Smokefree Partnership www.smokefreepartnership.eu
European Network on Smoking Prevention www.ensp.org
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