A smoking ban icon is seen inside Hofbraeuhauskeller traditional beer hall on January 2, 2008 in Munich, Germany.
Image: Johannes Simon/
On March 29, 2004, Ireland became the first country in the world to introduce comprehensive legislation that banned smoking in the workplace, including in all bars and restaurants. In advance of the bill, pub owners and citizens spoke out, claiming the ban would “sound the death knell for the Irish pub.”
Despite resistance, the measure had its intended effect: One year later, it was reported that 7,000 people had given up smoking, and researchers found a 17% drop in respiratory issues. Recent research indicates the ban saved an estimated 3,700 lives.
“I didn’t anticipate the world focus on it,” Ireland’s former health minister told the Independent.
Smoke-free legislation hardly began with the Emerald Isle, however. In fact, the very first anti-smoking edict was issued in the 16th century by Pope Urban VII, best known for succumbing to malaria after a two-week reign. Urban VII proclaimed that anyone who “took tobacco in the porchway of or inside a church” risked excommunication. In the 17th century, meanwhile, the American colony of Massachusetts attempted to curtail smoking outdoors, mainly in the hopes of preventing fires.
Although the United States holds no federal ban on smoking in the workplace, each U.S. state has introduced its own legislation designed to safeguard non-smokers against the dangers of secondhand smoke. Arizona was the first state to restrict smoking in government buildings, health facilities and other public places in 1973. Aspen, Colo., became the first U.S. city to ban smoking in restaurants in 1985.
By 2010, 25 states had enacted comprehensive smoke-free legislation, according to the U.S. surgeon general’s website.
While the surgeon general estimates 88 million Americans are still exposed to secondhand smoke on a daily basis, worldwide anti-smoking laws have helped millions breathe easier. A 2012 study conducted at Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic found that smoke-free laws contributed to a 33% drop in the number of heart attacks in Olmstead County, Minn., as well as a 17% decline in sudden cardiac deaths. Meanwhile, a study spearheaded by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that regions that restrict public smoking saw a sustained drop in hospital admissions and deaths from a variety of smoking-related illnesses, including heart and lung disease and stroke.
“All people should avoid secondhand smoke to the extent possible, and people with coronary heart disease should have no exposure to secondhand smoke,” the authors of the Mayo Clinic study concluded.
To mark the 10th anniversary of Ireland’s historic legislation, we’ve created a map of other notable smoking bans around the world. Take a look to see how your country stacks up.
Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/03/29/smoking-ban-map/