Going smoke-free: the medical case for clean air in the home, at work and in public places


A report on passive smoking by the Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians, published July 2005

Complied by leading experts in the field and based on extensive research, this report addresses the serious consequences of passive smoking in the UK. It appraises the health impacts and policy options for preventing passive smoke exposure in the home, at work and in public places.

The authors conclude that the only effective and morally defensible means of protecting workers and the public from passive smoke effects is to enact comprehensive legislation to make all workplaces and public places smoke-free. However, the report also outlines the wider implications and benefits of comprehensive smoke-free policy as a means of reducing the prevalence of smoking, and of preventing passive smoking by children and other vulnerable groups in the home.

Preventing smoking remains the greatest health priority in the UK. Effective measures to prevent passive smoking are vital to the public health response. Going smoke-free: the medical case for clean air in the home, at work and in public places explains what needs to be done, and why.

Smoke-free legislation will save lives, reduce health inequalities and improve public health. Introducing comprehensive smoke-free legislation should be a public health priority for the UK.

The report can be purchased or downloaded as a pdf.


  • Passive smoking: what it is and why it is harmful
  • Health effects of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS)
  • Exposure to passive smoking
  • Deaths from exposure to ETS in the UK
  • Control of ETS exposure in the workplace
  • Control measures in the home - effects on exposure
  • The impact of partial and complete smoke-free policies
  • The legal perspective on work and leisure exposure
  • Public attitudes to smoke-free policy
  • Legislating to prevent exposure to ETS in public places and workplaces: ethical and civil liberties arguments
  • Economics of smoke-free policies
  • Economics of smoke-free policies and the hospitality industry
  • Tobacco industry responses and approaches to smoke-free policy
  • Special cases: smoke-free policies in long-stay institutions
  • Smoke-free public places in Ireland: how was it achieved and what has been learnt?

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