Smoke-free legislation was introduced in England on 1 July 2007. Virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces became completely smoke-free. These measures are intended to provide protection from the harmful effects of ETS and to enhance opportunities for smokers to quit.
The behavioural, social and cultural impact of smoke-free legislation were assessed via primary longitudinal qualitative research. The study explored the views, attitudes and experiences of individuals, families, key target groups and communities using a multi-level (nested) case study approach. Within six contrasting local areas in two major cities in the south-east and north-east of England, data was collected through a range of qualitative and ethnographic techniques, including: in-depth, repeat interviews with a purposively recruited panel of informants; group discussions with target populations of particular interest; key informant interviews; and observations in a range of public places. The case study areas were purposively selected to ensure adequate variation in respect urbanity/rurality, ethnicity, socio-economic status (SES) and smoking prevalence. The behavioural and attitudinal impacts of smoke-free legislation in England has been compared with those observed in Scotland (where similar legislation came into force in March 2006).
The findings of the study will be central to the planned Departmental review of the legislation in 2010 and will contribute to knowledge about the consequences of this legislative intervention for health improvement and health inequalities.