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Centre for Behavioural
Research in Cancer

Strengthening the efficacy of smoke-free policies: implications for outdoor smoking bans

This project entailed several studies to examine the observed impact of laws to ban smoking in nightclubs, pubs and bars in Victoria, and the potential for stronger laws to confer even greater benefits. In the first study, we measured the concentration of particulate pollution (PM2.5) at 30-second intervals from 69 outdoor dining areas in Melbourne, Australia, during April/May 2007. The study found that when individuals sit in outdoor dining venues where smokers are present, it is possible that they will be exposed to substantial secondhand smoke levels. Significant increases in exposure were observed when monitors were located under overhead covers, and as the number of nearby smokers increased. The study suggests there is a need to restrict smoking in outdoor dining areas to minimise exposure to secondhand smoke. In the second study, data were covertly collected from a convenience sample of 19 pubs and bars that had at least one indoor area with an adjacent semi-enclosed outdoor eating/drinking area. Using personal aerosol monitors, concentrations of secondhand smoke (PM2.5) were measured concurrently in indoor and outdoor areas before and after implementation of the July 2007 indoor smoking ban. We found indoor smoking bans were an effective means of improving indoor and outdoor air quality in pubs and bars, although the air quality of smoke-free indoor areas may be compromised by smoking in adjacent outdoor areas.  These findings require consideration in efforts to ensure adequate protection of the health of employees and patrons at hospitality venues.

CBRC staff

Melissa Cameron, Dr Emily Brennan, A/Prof Sarah Durkin, Charles Warne, Prof Melanie Wakefield


Dr Mark Travers and Dr Andrew Hyland (Roswell Park Cancer Centre, Buffalo, USA), Prof Ron Borland (Cancer Council Victoria)


VicHealth, Cancer Council Victoria


2006 - 2010