Ashtrays and Signage as Determinants of a Smoke-Free Legislation’s SuccessReport as inadecuate

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Successful smoke-free legislation is dependent on political will, enforcement and societal support. We report the success and pitfalls of a non-enforced nationwide smoke-free legislation in Greece, as well as ways in which compliance and enforcement-related factors, including ashtrays and signage, may impact indoor secondhand smoke SHS concentrations.


A follow-up study of venues n = 150, at baseline, n = 75 at 2-year follow-up in Greece assessed indoor particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 micrometers PM2.5 concentrations attributable to SHS smoke every six months for two years n = 455 venue-measurements.


Following the implementation of the 2010 smoke-free legislation, mean PM2.5 concentrations attributable to SHS fell from 175.3 µg-m3 pre-ban to 84.52 µg-m3 immediately post-ban, increasing over subsequent waves 103.8 µg-m3 and 158.2 µg-m3 respectively. Controlling for potential influential factors such as ventilation, time of day, day of week, city and venue type, all post-ban measurements were still lower than during the pre-ban period Wave 2 beta: −118.7, Wave 3 beta: −87.6, and Wave 4 beta: −69.9. Outdoor or indoor signage banning smoking was not found to affect SHS concentrations beta: −10.9, p = 0.667 and beta: −18.1, p = 0.464 respectively. However, ashtray or ashtray equivalents were strong determinants of the existence of indoor SHS beta: +67 µg-m3, p = 0.017.


While the public may be supportive of smoke-free legislation, adherence may decline rapidly if enforcement is limited or nonexistent. Moreover, enforcement agencies should also focus on the comprehensive removal of ashtray equivalents that could act as cues for smoking within a venue.

Author: Constantine I. Vardavas , Israel Agaku, Evridiki Patelarou, Nektarios Anagnostopoulos, Chrysanthi Nakou, Vassiliki Dramba, Gianna



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