Secondhand smoke levels in Scottish pubs: The effect of smoke-free legislation

Sean Semple, Karen S. Creely, Audrey Naji, Brian G. Miller, Jon Ayres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To compare levels of particulate matter, as a marker of secondhand smoke (SHS) levels, in pubs before and 2 months after the implementation of Scottish legislation to prohibit smoking in substantially enclosed public places.

Design: Comparison of SHS levels before and after the legislation in a random selection of 41 pubs in 2 Scottish cities.

Methods: Fine particulate matter < 2.5 mu m in diameter (PM2.5) was measured discreetly for 30 min in each bar on 1 or 2 visits in the 8 weeks preceding the starting date of the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 and then again 2 months after the ban. Repeat visits were undertaken on the same day of the week and at approximately the same time of the day.

Results: PM2.5 levels before the introduction of the legislation averaged 246 mu g/m(3) (range 8-902 mu g/m(3)). The average level reduced to 20 mu g/m(3) (range 6-104 mu g/m(3)) in the period after the ban. Levels of SHS were reduced in all 53 post-ban visits, with the average reduction being 86% (range 12-99%). PM2.5 concentrations in most pubs post-ban were comparable to the outside ambient air PM2.5 level.

Conclusions: This study has produced the largest dataset of pre- and post-ban SHS levels in pubs of all worldwide smoke-free legislations introduced to date. Our results show that compliance with the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 has been high and this has led to a marked reduction in SHS concentrations in Scottish pubs, thereby reducing both the occupational exposure of workers in the hospitality sector and that of non-smoking patrons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-132
Number of pages6
JournalTobacco Control
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


  • environmental tobacco-smoke
  • exposure
  • workers
  • bars
  • ban
  • air
  • restaurants
  • risk


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