From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

Barworkers' health and changing attitudes towards the Scottish smoke-free legislation

This is a cross colloboration with the Evaluation team. Increasing evidence of the health risks posed by second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure has been followed in recent years by the enactment of legislation designed to ensure workplaces and other public spaces are smoke-free. Following the example of other countries, such legislation was introduced in Scotland in March 2006. Its implementation was primarily a health and safety measure aimed at reducing the harmful effects of SHS to workers, particularly those in the hospitality sector who have been shown to be exposed to high levels of SHS in their workplaces. In countries where policies to restrict or prohibit smoking have been implemented, hospitality workers have been shown to benefit particularly female bar workers from low socioecomonic status. Bar workers' respiratory function has been shown to improve and there has been a positive shift in attitudes among bar workers towards preferring to work in smoke-free environments. Despite the strong public health justification for smoke-free legislation in Scotland and a high profile public awareness campaign about the dangers of SHS, concerns were voiced prior to its introduction about its potential negative economic impact and the difficulties of enforcing it. We conducted two studies to examine these issues. Firstly, we conducted a large scale study to determine the changing attitudes of bar workers before and after the implementation of the smoke-free legislation. Secondly, we conducted an exploratory study to investigate bar workers' experiences of the changed environment, and in particular their perceptions of changes in patrons' behaviours as well as the challenges bar staff faced in managing the smoke-free legislation.



MacCalman L, Semple S, Galea KS, Van Tongeren M, Dempsey S, Hilton S, Gee I, Ayres JG. The relationship between workers’ self-reported changes in health and their attitudes towards a workplace intervention: lessons from smoke-free legislation across the UK hospitality industry. BMC Public Health 2012;12:324

pubmed  open access  


Ayres J, Semple S, MacCalman L, Dempsey S, Hilton S, Hurley J, Miller BG, Naji A, Petticrew M. Bar workers' health and environmental tobacco smoke exposure (BHETSE): symptomatic improvement in bar staff following smoke-free legislation in Scotland. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2009;66:339-46

pubmed  open access  


Hilton S, Cameron J, MacLean A, Petticrew M. Observations from behind the bar: changing patrons' behaviours in response to smoke-free legislation in Scotland. BMC Public Health 2008;8:238

pubmed  open access  


Hilton S, Semple S, Miller BG, MacCalman L, Petticrew M, Dempsey S, Naji A, Ayres JG. Expectations and changing attitudes of bar workers before and after the implementation of smoke-free legislation in Scotland. BMC Public Health 2007;7:206

pubmed  open access  

Petticrew M, Semple S, Hilton S, Creely K, Eadie D, Ritchie D, Ferrell C, Christopher Y, Hurley F. Covert observation in practice: lessons from the evaluation of the prohibition of smoking in public places in Scotland. BMC Public Health 2007;7:204

pubmed  open access  

Semple S, Maccalman L, Naji Audrey A, Dempsey S, Hilton S, Miller B, Ayres JG. Bar workers' exposure to second-hand smoke: the effect of Scottish smoke-free legislation on occupational exposure. Annals of Occupational Hygiene 2007;51:571-580

pubmed  open access  

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