Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 11:53 UK

Smoking curbs: The global picture

The BBC News Website traces the recent wave of smoking bans around the world as governments seek to improve the health of their populations.

Click on the map to find out more about selected countries:



Smoking is banned inside all airports, government offices, health clinics and workplaces in Australia. Restaurants and shopping centres in most states and territories are also smoke-free zones.

In Sydney, smoking is also banned on the world famous beaches of Manly and Bondi, among others.

In 2007 the city of Fremantle went a step further and banned smoking in all outside dining areas. Perth followed suit in August 2008 and it is expected that eventually all states will ban smoking in outside dining areas.


The sale of tobacco products has been banned throughout the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.

It is believed to be the first country to have done this.

The move is part of the government's strategy for predominantly Buddhist Bhutan to eventually become a smoke-free nation.

Smoking was only popular with a small percentage of the Bhutanese population, correspondents say. Chewing tobacco was much more common.


Smoking levels are some of the lowest in the world, with some 21% of Canadians over the age of 15 reported smoking in 2002, according to government statistics.

Public health experts say the decline has been driven by tough anti-smoking measures adopted in recent years.

In addition to bans on smoking in workplaces and many public places, cigarette packets bear graphic images of the damage done to internal organs by smoking.


In May 2008, in the run-up to the Olympic Games, a ban on smoking in most public buildings came into force in the Chinese capital, Beijing.

The move was an attempt to discourage some of China's 350 million smokers and also part of wider efforts to clean up the city ahead of the games.

For every three cigarettes lit worldwide, one is smoked in China. Almost 25% of the Chinese smoke.


Smoking was banned on public transport, in shops and other closed spaces from 7 February, 2005.

The authorities are seeking to curb damage to people's health and help bring about a change in public attitudes.

More than half of Cuban adults are thought to smoke, and 30% of preventable cancer deaths are said to be linked to smoking.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro - a cigar aficionado in the early days of his left-wing revolution - kicked the habit in 1986 for health reasons.


Estonia joined those European countries banning smoking in bars and restaurants on 5 June, 2007. The law bans smoking in cafes, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, except for special zones, and at bus stops and underground train stations. Offenders face a fine of 80 euros, while owners of cafes and restaurants can face a fine of up to 2,000 euros.

Finland introduced a similar measure on 1 June.

France took a major step towards a total public ban when it announced it would prevent smoking in workplaces and other public buildings from 1 February 2007.

The law was extended in 2008 to include cafes, restaurants and bars.

Its first serious move to cut smoking levels came in October 2003, when it raised the price of cigarettes by 20%.

The move provoked a strike from furious tobacconists, many fearing being forced out of business by smokers crossing borders to buy cigarettes in neighbouring countries.

Analysts said the plan was driven by government concern that smoking levels were not declining fast enough in France, and a need to fill an $8.5bn shortfall in the country's health budget.

sign shows ban on cigarettes
French attitudes to smoking seem to have changed since the ban

Correspondents say attitudes to smoking have changed dramatically in France since the 2007 ban and any fears that people will generally ignore the new law should be discarded.

The French health ministry allowed smokers a 24-hour "grace" period for the 2008 New Year festivities in a gesture of "tolerance".

Any smoker caught flouting the ban after then can be fined up to 450 euros (£332; $662), while those who turn a blind eye to smokers on their premises can be fined up to 750 euros.

In Germany, eight states, including Berlin, ushered in 2008 declaring their pubs and restaurants smoke-free.

Almost a third of Germans smoke and the authorities in Berlin have decided not to enforce the restrictions actively for the first six months.

German restaurants and pubs have strongly resisted the bans, not only because of the potential loss of income but partly because of an earlier crackdown on smoking initiated by Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.

The sensitivity of the issue has prompted the authorities to allow special rooms to be set up purely for smokers.

The toughest rules in Germany are being brought in in Bavaria, where no smoking rooms will be allowed. Lighting up is also likely to be banned at the state's Munich beer festival in October.

Greece introduced its third attempt at banning smoking in public places on 1 July 2009. Under the new rules, smoking will be prohibited in hospitals, schools, vehicles and all public spaces.

But small restaurants will be allowed to choose to admit exclusively smokers (or non-smokers), and bigger ones can have smoking areas.

Previous attempts to introduce a ban in 2002 and 2003 failed after they were largely ignored.

Ireland imposed tough anti-smoking legislation in March 2004, banning smoking in pubs, restaurants and other enclosed workplaces.

Anyone caught smoking in a prohibited location now faces a fine of up to 3,000 euros (£2,000).

Despite fears the ban would be widely flouted, BBC correspondent James Helm reported most smokers in pubs adopting a pragmatic view and popping outside to the street or beer garden for a puff between pints.

Italy imposed a ban on smoking in all enclosed public places including bars and restaurants from midnight on 10 January, 2005.

Businesses face a fine of up to 2,000 euros (£1,395) if they fail to ensure their customers do not smoke, while smokers themselves could face a 275-euro (£191) for repeatedly ignoring the new rules.

Ban on show in Italian cafe
Not everyone has been so supportive of the new move

The ban has not been welcomed by all, with some bar owners and smokers saying they will ignore the ban on the grounds that cigarettes and smoking are an integral part of Italian bar and cafe culture.

The new rules allow smoking in special sealed-off areas fitted with smoke extractors; however many bar owners say fitting the automatic doors and forced ventilation systems required by law is too expensive.

Tobacconists reported a 20% fall in cigarette sales in the weeks immediately after the ban came into force.

Lithuania has extended its 2007 ban on smoking in bars and cafes to include all public places, bars and cafes.

Montenegro: In August 2004, Montenegro - then part of a union with Serbia - decided to introduce a sweeping ban on smoking in public places in the hope of overturning an established culture of smoking in offices, restaurants, bars and on buses.

Tobacco advertising and the portrayal of smoking on television are also banned.

The Netherlands: A tough crackdown on smoking from 1 January 2004 saw cigarettes banned from many public places including railway stations, trains, toilets and offices.

The government also warned hotels, bars and restaurants they would face further measures unless they adopted their own controls on smoking.

Some 30% of the Netherlands' 16 million population are smokers - a higher rate than all other European Union countries except Spain, Greece and Germany.

Norway: A national ban was imposed on smoking in restaurants, bars and cafes from 1 June 2004.

The government says the ban is to protect staff working in these establishments from passive smoking and to "de-normalise" smoking as a social pastime.

Tobacco advertising has been prohibited in Norway for 30 years and a packet of cigarettes costs about £6.

Despite this, one in three people smokes cigarettes, and there has been a rise in tobacco-related deaths.

Portugal introduced restrictions on 1 January 2008 but the rules were not as tight as some other European countries. Portuguese bars smaller than 100sq m (1,076sq ft) can still opt to allow smoking. Public buildings can still have smoking zones, provided they are clearly signposted and ventilated.

Spain: A new law banning smoking in offices, shops, schools, hospitals, cultural centres and on public transport was introduced on 1 January, 2006.

Businesses occupying more than 100sq m have eight months to set up a separate smoking area. Smaller premises have to indicate whether they are smoke-free.

The government says the ban is necessary because smoking is the biggest killer in Spain, with 50,000 smoking-related deaths annually.

Surveys show that about 30% of Spaniards smoke.

A government-sponsored opinion poll released in December showed more than 70% of respondents backed the ban.

Sweden: Smoking was prohibited in all bars and restaurants from midnight in May 2005.

A majority of people questioned in a Temo poll welcomed the ban.

Establishments wanting to allow smoking are required to have a closed-off section with specially-designed ventilation, where no food or drink can be served. But most venues were not expected to be able to afford such renovations.

The ban followed lobbying by the country's licensing sector which said bar and restaurant staff were more likely to suffer lung cancer than in any other profession.

The new restriction could spell a rise in the centuries-old use of "snus" - moist snuff placed under the lip enjoyed by more than 1m Swedes.

United Kingdom: Smoking is banned in nearly all enclosed public spaces - including bars, restaurants and workplaces.

The ban came into force in England early on 1 July. Scotland introduced a ban in March 2006, followed by Wales and Northern Ireland in April 2007.

People smoking in pubs, restaurants, offices and on public transport face on-the-spot fines of £50, while those in charge of the premises could also be fined for allowing smoking.

The pub industry warned of the potential impact on trade and called for smoking-room areas.

About 30% of adults under the age of 65 smoke in the UK, according to recent research conducted by Imperial College in London.

An estimated 42% of people under the age of 65 are exposed to tobacco smoke at home and 11% at work.

The issue of passive smoking has been at the centre of an intense debate between pro and anti-smoking groups, with each side contesting the validity of each other's statistics.


A ban on smoking in public places came into force in October 2008 in an effort to curb high levels of tobacco addiction.

Anyone caught breaking the law will be fined 200 rupees ($4.50).

Indian man smoking
Anti-smoking laws in India are widely flouted

The law also bans direct and indirect advertising of tobacco products and the sale of cigarettes to children.

Tobacco smoking in India kills 900,000 people a year, a figure that is expected to rise to one million by 2010.

According to a 1996 survey reported by AP news agency, 112 million people smoke tobacco in India, while some 96 million use tobacco products like chewing tobacco.

India's health ministry says hundreds of thousands of people who have never smoked die each year by inhaling smoke from other people's cigarettes and bidis (small hand-rolled cigarettes common in India).


Iran banned smoking in public buildings and tobacco advertising in October 2003 - but both measures have had little effect.

Smoking was banned in religious and administrative buildings, as well as hotels, restaurants, airports, cinemas and sports centres.

Despite this, the ban is largely ignored and laws rarely enforced.

Statistics show smoking is on the rise among young Iranians.


In the capital, Nairobi, a ban on smoking in indoor public places came into force in July 2007, with a similar ban in Mombasa and the Rift Valley town of Nakuru.

Anyone smoking in offices, bus stations, airports and sports venue faces a fine of 50,000 Kenya shillings ($700; £375) or six months in prison.

Bars and restaurants without separate smoking areas are also affected.

Tobacco kills 8,000 smokers in Kenya each year and second-hand smoke kills 4,000, according to official figures.

Smoking generates 5bn shillings ($65m) for the Kenyan government but costs five times as much in disease, disability and death.


There is a wide-ranging ban on smoking in public places, most recently updated in 2005.

It includes food shops, restaurants, public halls and function rooms, offices, factories, banks and health premises.

Smoking is also prohibited on public transport, including taxis.

The National Environment Agency extended the ban to include pubs, bars and clubs in July 2007. On 1 July 2007, the ban was extended to entertainment nightspots. But these businesses can build designated smoking rooms that can take up to 10% of the total indoor space.

From 1 January 2009, the ban will be extended to playgrounds, exercise areas, markets, underground and multi-storey car parks, ferry terminals and jetties. It will also be extended to non-airconditioned areas in offices, factories, shops, shopping complexes and lift lobbies.


Tanzania banned smoking in many public places in July 2003, with smoke-free zones declared on public transport, as well as in schools and hospitals.

The government also banned the selling of tobacco to under 18s and advertising on radio and television and in newspapers.

Health officials said they hoped the ban would "create an environment that will help to make the society a non-smoking one".


Many cities and states are considering - or already enforcing - bans on smoking.

California has some of the toughest and most extensive anti-smoking legislation anywhere in the world.

A ban on smoking inside or within 1.5 metres of any public building came into force in 1993 - recently extended to six metres. Smoking is also banned in restaurants, bars and enclosed workplaces - and on beaches - throughout the state.

In New York, smoking has been banned in bars, clubs and restaurants since March 2003.

Anti-smoking laws have provoked a strong debate in the US. Some bar owners say their businesses are suffering and smokers say their rights are being infringed, while non-smokers delight in a fresher environment.


A limited public smoking ban in one of the heaviest-smoking countries came into force on 31 May, 2007.

Cigar nation faces smoking curbs
19 Jan 05 |  Americas
Ban stubs out Italy tobacco sales
21 Jan 05 |  Business
Alcohol 'as harmful as smoking'
04 Feb 05 |  Health
Bhutan forbids all tobacco sales
17 Dec 04 |  South Asia
Smoking at work 'kills hundreds'
16 May 04 |  Health
Q&A: Passive smoking
18 Oct 04 |  Health


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