Regulations on smoking

New York Times  Jan 5  Comment 
Smoking harms nonsmokers, and the damage isn’t merely caused by secondhand smoke.
Financial Times  Jul 8  Comment 
Tobacco group was suing South American country for its strict regulations on smoking


Around the world, regulations on smoking range from nonexistent to fully prohibited by law and subject to heavy fines. However, recent media exposure and increasing national concern has led to a dramatic increase in anti-smoking legislation.

Who loses from smoking bans?

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One of the iconic "Mind the Gap" signs on the British subway system replaces the traditional text with smoking regulations.

Regulations on smoking, regional and country

North America

  • U.S.: U.S. smoking legislation is not federal but state-level, a situation heartily condemned by many cigarette manufacturers, since the federal court tends to be more lax on smoking than the average individual state. Still, restrictions vary widely from state to state: in super-vigilant Washington State, smoking is banned in all public places including bars and nightclubs, as well as in all areas within 25 feet of a window or doorway; meanwhile Indiana has no statewide ban at all, and its county-level smoking bans often include opt-out clauses for dissenting municipalities. [1] [2] Nevertheless, the trend in the U.S. is clearly defined towards more prohibition and regulation, with a flurry of new initiatives passed in the past three years.
  • Canada: in this world's least-smoking country [3], most workplaces and public spaces are covered by province-level smoking bans. The introduction of a new federal smoking ban may block out the unregulated pockets as well, if passed. [4]


  • China: Like many East Asian countries, China is a long ways from a federal smoking ban. With just a two cities offering "trial run" prohibitions in public places, China's tobacco industry is booming. [5] However, since most of its lucrative tobacco market is dominated by a state-owned, government-protected company, China is not a hot market for global cigarette manufacturers looking for an international fix.
  • India: Despite some tight federal smoking prohibitions, the token gesture goes largely unenforced.
  • Japan: Politicos are skeptical about the effectivity of a new Tokyo ban on outdoor smoking in certain streets. Much of the Japanese population smokes, especially males and teenagers (who have no trouble flouting minor-protection laws in obtaining cigarettes).


The EU has been toying with a union-wide smoking ban for a while now, although anti-smoking campaigns have pointed fingers at top EU officials' own pro-smoking practices.

  • France: The tobacco industry was outraged when the federal government hiked prices by 20% to discourage smoking several years, but the long-term effect on smoking seems to have been negligible. France is tightened its rules again in 2007, this time banning smoking in all public places (including restaurants and bars, after Jan. 2008).[6]
  • Germany: In Sept. 2007, Germany's public transit and government buildings will be smoke-free for the first time, although individual states have passed tighter legislation previously.
  • Netherlands: About 30% of the population smokes, giving the Netherlands one of the highest smoking rates of the EU. The government has launched a series of tough federal crackdowns on smoking in public places, however.
  • U.K.: In July 2007, all of the UK was official smoke-free in public places. Support for smoking legislation has risen dramatically in recent years; 77% in England and Wales support the ban.


Australia has a combination of federal and regional smoking bans in an overall movement towards more regulation. In addition to bans on smoking in most restuarants, shopping malls, health/government centers, and workplaces, bans on smoking at beaches are catching on. [7]

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