Skip to main content

Fifteen Smokefree Years: Public support in England for measures to reduce the harm of smoking

Jul 2022
Download PDF


On July 1st 2007, radical new legislation came into force in England prohibiting smoking in all enclosed workplaces and public spaces including offices, shops, restaurants and pubs. Overnight, the air cleared. Smokefree legislation was a ground-breaking, and hard-fought, achievement for public health, protecting millions of people from the harms of tobacco smoke.

In 2022, fifteen years on, we take it for granted that the air we breathe inside shared public spaces will be free of tobacco smoke. We look back with amazement at the conditions in which people worked and socialised, and wonder how we ever tolerated them. A single change in policy seeded a long-term change in public attitudes.

This report describes public attitudes to proposals to reduce the harm of smoking, as measured by an annual YouGov survey of adults in England. It shows that support for specific measures to reduce the harms of smoking tends to grow over time, among both non-smokers and smokers, including after proposals have become legislation and been implemented.