Reducing Secondhand Smoke Exposure: Smoking Bans and Restrictions
Smoking bans and restrictions are policies, regulations, and laws that limit smoking in workplaces and other public areas. Smoking bans entirely prohibit smoking in geographically defined areas; smoking restrictions limit smoking to designated areas.
Summary of Task Force Recommendations & Findings
The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends smoking bans and restrictions whether used alone or as part of a multicomponent community or workplace intervention based on strong evidence of effectiveness in reducing exposure to secondhand smoke.
The findings of this review should be considered in conjunction with Task Force recommendations for smoke-free policies to reduce tobacco use among workers based on sufficient evidence of effectiveness of these policies in reducing tobacco use among workers.
Results from the Systematic Reviews
Ten studies qualified for the review.
- Environmental measurements of secondhand smoke components (e.g., nicotine vapor) decreased by a median of 72% (range, -44% to -97%) in assessments conducted between 6 months and 12 months after implementation of the ban or restriction (4 studies).
- Self-reported exposure to secondhand smoke between 4 and 18 months following implementation decreased by a median of 60% (range 4% to -94%; 6 studies).
- Reductions in secondhand smoke exposure were greater in workplaces that had smoking bans than in those with only smoking restrictions (10 studies).
- Smoking bans were effective in a wide variety of public and private workplaces and healthcare settings. Their effectiveness should extend to most indoor workplaces in the United States.
- Studies evaluating smoking bans or restrictions also observed reductions in the amount smoked.
These findings were based on a systematic review of all available studies, conducted on behalf of the Task Force by a team of specialists in systematic review methods, and in research, practice and policy related to tobacco use.
- Evidence gaps
- Summary evidence table [PDF - 6.38MB] - see Appendix B on pages 58-63
- Included studies
Hopkins DP, Briss PA, Ricard CJ. Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to reduce tobacco use and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. [PDF - 6.38MB] Am J Prev Med 2001;20(2S):16–66.
Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Recommendations regarding interventions to reduce tobacco use and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. [PDF - 1.46KB] Am J Prev Med 2001;20(2S):10–5.
Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Tobacco. [PDF - 3.63KB] In : Zaza S, Briss PA, Harris KW, eds. The Guide to Community Preventive Services: What Works to Promote Health? Atlanta (GA): Oxford University Press;2005:3-79.
More Community Guide publications about Tobacco Use
The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and do not necessarily represent those of CDC.
The content of publications of the Guide to Community Preventive Services is in the public domain. Citation as to source, however, is appreciated. Sample citation: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Reducing secondhand smoke exposure: smoking bans and restrictions. www.thecommunityguide.org/tobacco/environmental/smokingbans.html. Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.
Review completed: February 2000
- Page last reviewed: June 14, 2012
- Page last updated: June 14, 2012
- Content source: The Guide to Community Preventive Services