Scientific evidence has firmly established that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand
tobacco smoke. Implementing 100% smoke-free environments is the only way to protect the
population from its harmful effects.
As many examples around the world now demonstrate, smoke-free laws are the only
acceptable public health and human rights approach to ensure full protection.
100% Smoke-free laws require that everyone is protected from the hazards of secondhand
smoke, in all enclosed workplaces and public places, including all restaurants, bars and other
hospitality venues. It means that there are no designated smoking rooms, no exempted
premises, and no exempted people.
Smokefree laws should:
• Be binding;
• Establish enforcement mechanisms;
• Impose penalties for violations; and
• Cover all businesses
WHO/FCTC Smokefree Recommendations
Building upon the evidence from country experiences, the World Health Organization (WHO),
with consultation from leading medical and scientific authorities, has developed key policy
recommendations to protect workers and the public from exposure to second-hand smoke.
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 implementing smokefree policies that meet the treaty’s requirements. The FCTC
guidelines follow and in some areas expand on the WHO smokefree policy recommendations.
The WHO policy recommendations and the FCTC guidelines both include the following advice:
100% smokefree environments, not “designated smoking rooms”
• 100% smokefree environments are the only effective strategy to reduce exposure to
• Ventilation and smoking areas do not effectively protect people from exposure to
secondhand smoke and are not recommended.
Universal protection by law
• Legislation protecting all workers is necessary to protect everyone’s right to the highest
attainable standard of health, the right to life, and the right to a healthy environment.
• Laws requiring all indoor workplaces and public places to be 100% smoke-free ensure equal
protection for all. Voluntary policies are not an acceptable alternative.
• Effective protection may require specific quasi-outdoor and outdoor workplaces to be
Public education to reduce SHS exposure
• Governments should educate opinion leaders, key stakeholders and the general public
about the need for legislation, with a focus on the harms caused by secondhand smoke
• When the public understands the health risks of tobacco smoke, smoke-free laws are
popular, well-respected, and largely self-enforcing.
• Key messages for public education campaigns should focus on the harm caused by secondhand
smoke exposure; the fact that elimination of smoke indoors is the only science-based
solution to ensure complete protection from exposure; the right of all workers to be equally
protected by law; and the fact that smokefree laws do not harm business. Public education
campaigns should also target settings for which legislation may not be feasible or
appropriate, such as private homes.
• An engaged public becomes the primary monitoring mechanism for a strong law, reducing
the resources needed for enforcement and ensuring high levels of compliance.
Proper implementation and adequate enforcement of the law
• Governments must be prepared to invest reasonable resources in achieving and enforcing
smoke-free laws. These should include funds for
o promotional campaigns to build support for the law;
o public opinion polls;
o educational materials on implementation;
o compliance monitoring systems;
o a public complaints hotline; and
o an increase in the number of implementation inspectors
• Governments should be prepared to face lobbying campaigns and legal challenges from the
tobacco industry and its front groups to amend or roll back the law.
• Governments should take actions before and after implementation of the law to ensure its
sustainability, including comprehensive education campaigns; consultations with
stakeholders; and providing data on the effectiveness of the legislation.
First, say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. Health Service Food and Human Resources: Duty free tobacco brands