The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the international tobacco control
treaty, requires all ratifying countries to adopt effective smokefree policies. More than 150
countries have ratified the FCTC and are legally bound to adopt effective smokefree
policies. The FCTC’s governing body, the Conference of the Parties, has adopted guidelines
for countries to follow in drafting and implementing smokefree policies that meet the
treaty’s requirements. These FCTC guidelines3 provide extensive advice, including the
Good smoke-free legislation:
Effective smoke-free legislation should completely prohibit smoking in:
• Enclosed places of work
• Enclosed places open to the public
• All parts of public transport
• Outdoors within specified distances of doorways and windows
• Other appropriate public places.
Defines key terms
Smoke-free legislation clearly defines all of the key terms used in the legislation,
• Public places. Public places should be defined broadly to include all places
accessible to the public or places of collective use
• Workplaces. The definition of workplaces should include all parts of any place
where work is performed.
• Enclosed places. Enclosed places should be defined in a way that makes clear
whether smoking is prohibited or allowed in partially-enclosed places, for
example any space covered by a roof or enclosed by one or more walls or sides,
made of any material, whether temporary or permanent.
• Transportation. Transportation should be defined to include any means of
transport for hire.
The legislation should provide clear penalties for each person or entity that does not
comply with their duties. Penalties for noncompliance should be:
• Proportionate to the violation.
• Proportionate to the duty imposed by the legislation.
• Progressively more severe for repeat violations.
Provides for Enforcement
Smoke-free legislation should include details about enforcement by:
• Clearly stating the responsibilities of different ministries or agencies.
• Coordinating across ministries or agencies.
• Allowing civil society organizations and individual citizens to go to court to seek
enforcement of the legislation.
Things to avoid in drafting smoke-free legislation
X Exceptions that allow for separate ventilation. There is no safe level of exposure to
tobacco smoke and separate ventilation does not eliminate tobacco smoke. Businesses that
go to the expenses of installing ventilation systems will oppose future efforts toward a
complete smokefree law.
X Lack or unclear definitions in the law. It is important that the all key terms in the
law are clearly defined. Please see the section on Model Smoke-free Legislative for sample
X Providing an illustrative list of public places or work places. Lists create ambiguity
about any place not listed and can lead to legal challenges to the legislation.
X Creating a duty without a corresponding penalty for noncompliance. Each person or
entity that is required to do or refrain from doing something under the legislation should
face a penalty for noncompliance.
X Imposing small fines only or imposing the same fine against the person in control of
the premises as against the smoker. The owner of the premises has more control and
therefore a greater duty than individual smokers. Other penalties, such as business license
sanction, can be powerful enforcement tools.