Many of us remember the days before the smoking ban. Smoky pubs where it was hard to see the bar. The office slowly beginning to smell of stale smoke. The nice meal you just bought having an aftertaste of a cigarette from all the smoke in the air.


That all changed 10 years ago with the famous (or infamous depending who you talk to) smoking ban.


No longer were you able to light up whenever you wanted, all work areas and public enclosed areas suddenly became no smoking zones. Instead if you wanted to smoke you had to go out into the cold (and mostly likely rain).


At the time smokers protested, saying it wouldn't make any difference, smokers wouldn’t quit and there would be little to no health benefits.


So for the smoking ban’s 10 year anniversary, we look at the effect of the ban, and if it really helped (spoiler alert, it really did).


Health Benefits

As we all know 2nd hand smoke is terrible for you, and the smoking ban has done a world of good to help with both the awareness of 2nd hand smoke and stopping it hurting people.


It is hard to believe but 10 years ago people had no problem smoking next to young children or pregnant mothers. Although 2nd hand smoke was known about it didn't really hit the public consciousness until the smoking ban debate began.


It wasn't just in pubs that people stopped smoking. With the ban in place the idea of 2nd hand smoke was firmly in people's minds, and the number of people smoking in their homes plummeted.


And it all seems to have had an effect. The percentage of bar staff with breathing issues (who have been the most effected by 2nd hand smoke) dropped immediately. It went from 67% to less than 40% in under a year!


But that was not all. The rate of heart disease fell almost immediately as well. The amount of heart attacks fell 2.4% as soon as the ban came into place. That's the equivalent of 1,200 less heart attacks.


In fact over the last 10 years heart disease caused by smoking has fallen by 20% since the ban began!


Fewer Smokers

Since 2007 the amount of smokers has been steadily shrinking. Before the ban about 20% of the population smoked, now it’s less the 15%.


This is harder to attribute to just the ban as there are loads of factors, from better education to the rise of e-cigarettes.


In fact the number of people who smoked was falling steadily even before the ban, but there is evidence to show that it might of sped it up.


When YouGov conducted a survey on smokers and ex-smokers the found that 14% said the ban made them quit, while 20% said it helped the cut down.


It seems to have also stopped people taking up cigarettes as well. The number of young people taking up smoking has halved since the ban.


Even better the smoking rate in the UK is the second lowest in Europe.    


For many people then the smoking ban was a wakeup call, it reminded them not only that smoking was horrible for you, but that it affected other people as well.


Rise of E-Cigarettes

The smoking ban was a reminder to many that they were hurting those around them (and themselves) with cigarettes. It stopped them enjoying cigarettes inside and made smoking into a nasty vice instead of the social habit it was.


And that's where the rise of e-cigarettes comes in. As e-cigarettes only produce vapour there is no 2nd hand smoke, so those around you can't be hurt by it. It is also 95% less harmful then cigarettes so it doesn't hurt the user either.


That means that it is perfectly legal to use inside and it doesn't even leave a smell!


Unsurprisingly the take up of e-cigarettes was huge. Since 2007 e-cigarettes went from an extremely new and unknown device to the most common way people stop smoking. And is it any wonder? It has all of what was good with smoking before the ban, with none of the downsides!



If you want to make the switch and relive some of the glory days of smoking before the ban (and without hurting anyone) why not try one of our starter kits?


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