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Correlates of compliance with national comprehensive smoke-free laws

Abstract

Objective To explore correlates of high compliance with smoking bans in a cross-sectional data set from the 41 countries with national comprehensive smoke-free laws in 2014 and complete data on compliance and enforcement.

Methods Outcome variable: compliance with a national comprehensive smoke-free law in each country was obtained for 2014 from the WHO global report on the global tobacco epidemic. Explanatory variables: legal enforcement requirements, penalties, infrastructure and strategy were obtained through a separate survey of governments. Also, country socioeconomic and demographic characteristics including the level of corruption control were included. Analysis: an initial bivariate analysis determined the significance of each potentially relevant explanatory variable of high compliance. Differences in compliance were tested using the exact logistic regression.

Results High compliance with the national comprehensive smoke-free law was associated with the involvement of the local jurisdictions in providing training and/or guidance for inspections (OR=10.3, 95% CI 1.7 to 117.7) and a perception of high corruption control efforts in the country (OR=7.2, 95% CI 1.1 to 85.8).

Discussion The results show the importance of the depth of the enforcement infrastructure and effort represented by the degree to which the local government is involved in enforcement. They also show the significance of fighting corruption in the enforcement process, including the attempts of the tobacco industry to undermine the process, to achieve high levels of compliance with the law. The results point out to the need to invest minimal but essential enforcement resources given that national comprehensive smoke-free laws are self-enforcing in many but not all countries and sectors.

  • Secondhand Smoke
  • public policy
  • tobacco industry
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