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​Who Has Benefited from the UK Smoking Ban the Most

5th Dec 2017

On the 1st July 2007 Public Health England implemented the so-called Go Smoke Free legislation. This new law signalled significant changes to existing laws around smoking and introduced a wide-scale public ban on smoking in public places including inside pubs, cafes, on public transport and more. We look at who has benefited from the UK smoking ban.

With the introduction of the UK smoking ban two main things occurred. Smoking levels in adults dropped and vaping numbers rose sharply. A keener awareness of smoking-related risk, including the dangers of passive smoking have contributed to this drop. There is also evidence that the popularity of vaping has done much to help people leave their smoking habit behind, by offering a cleaner, healthier and often more affordable alternative.

According to a report coming out of Lancaster University, married women with children have benefited from the ban the most in terms of happiness and wellbeing. The study which was led by Dr Eugenio Zucchelli collated data such as participant’s self-assessment of their wellbeing from a psychological viewpoint, using specific analytic methods.

Information collated via the British Household Panel Survey was also used to assess the post-ban wellbeing of those who smoked regularly, didn’t smoke, smoked only every so often and data was taken from both single individuals and those in a partnership/marriage. Dr Zucchelli confirmed that the study indicated that the public smoking ban did seem to have a positive effect on many but that married people, and most of all married women with children appeared to have benefited most of all in the happiness and well-being stakes. It was thought that the increase in mothers specifically may corelate with the wish to shield children from smoking, both them seeing it and being subjected to it via passive smoking.

I think that we can all agree that in some way everyone has benefited or has had the potential to benefit from the smoking bans. The environment has benefited, considering how much smoking related litter is dropped each year, and health-wise many have benefited.

Thankfully there are still options for those who chose to continue smoking after the ban was implemented. Vaping offers a similar hobby in that it caters for those who enjoy the hand to mouth, social and inhalation aspects of smoking, but does so without harmful chemicals. WHO (the World Health Organisation) have classified a great number of the chemicals found in tobacco cigarettes as being toxic and potentially cancer-causing. No such classification exists for vaping.

Switching over to vaping from smoking is better for your health which is why so many health organisations advocate for the use of e cigarettes as a cessation device or as a valid alternative to smoking. Public Health England, the government department responsible for putting together the 2007 Go Smoke Free Legislation even used e cigarettes in their Stoptober quit smoking campaign materials, listing them as a valid alternative to help people give up tobacco smoking for good.

Giving up smoking benefits many people and as the public smoking bans helped people make the leap into no smoking it’s easy to see why the bans increase wellbeing.

What we’d like to see is a wider acceptance, an official acceptance of vaping which will make even more people happier, healthier and living in a clear, less littered world. 

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