Smoking prevalence in a north-west town following the introduction of Smoke-free England

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Abstract

Background

In July 2007, legislation banning smoking in public places was introduced in England. This study investigates the impact of this legislation on smoking in Bury.

Methods

A postal survey was undertaken before the implementation of the legislation. The survey was repeated 3 months after the smoking ban. Smoking prevalence was then compared. Participants were randomly selected using the PCT database of people registered with general practitioners. In the baseline and second survey, 3500 questionnaires were sent to participants. In the baseline survey 59.5% responded. In the second survey 56.3% responded.

Results

Results were standardized to age and gender bands from Bury's population. The baseline survey found that the standardized prevalence of smoking before the ban was 22.4% and after it was 22.6%. The proportion of smokers reporting that on average they smoked 20 cigarettes a day or greater fell from 27.6 to 21.8% (P=0.044).

Conclusions

The study found that in Bury the smoking ban did not have a substantial impact on smoking prevalence but had an impact on the proportion of heavy smokers. The measurement of smoking prevalence before the change in legislation can be used to assess its long-term impact on smoking habits in Bury.

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