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Reducing Secondhand Smoke Exposure: Smoking Bans and Restrictions

(2000 Archived Review)

This is a summary of an archived systematic review and Community Preventive Services Task Force finding. Read a summary of the updated review and related Task Force finding.

Smoking bans and restrictions are policies, regulations, and laws that limit smoking in workplaces and other public areas. Smoking bans entirely prohibit smoking in geographically defined areas; smoking restrictions limit smoking to designated areas.

Summary of Task Force Recommendations and Findings

The Community Preventive Services Task Force  recommends smoking bans and restrictions whether used alone or as part of a multicomponent community or workplace intervention based on strong evidence of effectiveness in reducing exposure to secondhand smoke.

The findings of this review should be considered in conjunction with Task Force recommendations for smoke-free policies to reduce tobacco use among workers based on sufficient evidence of effectiveness of these policies in reducing tobacco use among workers.

Task Force Finding

Results from the Systematic Review

Ten studies qualified for the review.

  • Environmental measurements of secondhand smoke components (e.g., nicotine vapor) decreased by a median of 72% (range, -44% to -97%) in assessments conducted between 6 months and 12 months after implementation of the ban or restriction (4 studies).
  • Self-reported exposure to secondhand smoke between 4 and 18 months following implementation decreased by a median of 60% (range 4% to -94%; 6 studies).
  • Reductions in secondhand smoke exposure were greater in workplaces that had smoking bans than in those with only smoking restrictions (10 studies).
  • Smoking bans were effective in a wide variety of public and private workplaces and healthcare settings. Their effectiveness should extend to most indoor workplaces in the United States.
  • Studies evaluating smoking bans or restrictions also observed reductions in the amount smoked.

These findings were based on a systematic review of all available studies, conducted on behalf of the Task Force by a team of specialists in systematic review methods, and in research, practice and policy related to tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure.

Supporting Materials


Hopkins DP, Briss PA, Ricard CJ. Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to reduce tobacco use and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Adobe PDF File [PDF - 6.38 MB] Am J Prev Med 2001;20(2S):16–66.

Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Recommendations regarding interventions to reduce tobacco use and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Adobe PDF File [PDF - 1.46 kB] Am J Prev Med 2001;20(2S):10–5.

Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Tobacco. Adobe PDF File [PDF - 3.63 kB] In : Zaza S, Briss PA, Harris KW, eds. The Guide to Community Preventive Services: What Works to Promote Health? Atlanta (GA): Oxford University Press;2005:3-79.

Read other Community Guide publications about Reducing Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke Exposure in our library.

*PDF includes all of the information available and will not be updated.


The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and do not necessarily represent those of CDC. Task Force evidence-based recommendations are not mandates for compliance or spending. Instead, they provide information and options for decision makers and stakeholders to consider when determining which programs, services, and policies best meet the needs, preferences, available resources, and constraints of their constituents.

Sample Citation

The content of publications of the Guide to Community Preventive Services is in the public domain. Citation as to source, however, is appreciated. Sample citation: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Reducing secondhand smoke exposure: smoking bans and restrictions (2000 archived review). Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.

Review completed: February 2000