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Medium-term effects of the Italian smoke-free legislation: findings from 4 annual population based surveys
  1. Irene Tramacere1,
  2. Silvano Gallus1,
  3. Esteve Fernandez2,
  4. Piergiorgio Zuccaro3,
  5. Paolo Colombo4,
  6. Carlo La Vecchia5
  1. 1 Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche “Mario Negri”, 20156 Milan, Italy;
  2. 2 Institut Català d'Oncologia-IDIBELL; 08907 L’Hospitalet (Barcelona) and Universitat de Barcelona, Italy;
  3. 3 Istituto Superiore di Sanità, 00161 Rome, Spain;
  4. 4 Istituto DOXA, Gallup International Association, 20144 Milan, Italy;
  5. 5 Istituto Mario Negri and Università di Milano, Italy
  1. E-mail: gallus{at}


Background: Italy was the first large country that has banned smoking in all indoor public places, including restaurants and bars. The aim of this study was to quantify, 3 years after the law came into force, the effects of the smoking ban in terms of observance of the legislation and change of habits.

Methods: We considered data from 4 representative surveys on smoking, conducted between 2005 and 2008 on a total of 12,245 individuals (5,906 men and 6,339 women) aged 15 years or over.

Results: In 2008, more than 80% of Italians (more than 90% in northern Italy) had the perception that the smoking ban was respected in bars/cafes and restaurants, despite a slight reduction since 2005. In all the surveys combined, 75% of the Italian population reported that the smoking ban was respected in workplaces. Overall, approximately 10% of Italians reported that, after the implementation of the tobacco regulation, they went to bars/cafes and restaurants more frequently, and approximately 7% less frequently, than before.

Conclusion: Our study shows that in Italy the smoke-free legislation did not affect the business of restaurants and bars, and remain widely respected also 3 years after the law came into force.

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