OBJECTIVE: To examine the effect of an outdoor smokefree law in parks and on beaches on observed smoking in selected venues.

METHODS: The study involved repeated observations in selected parks and beaches in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The main outcome measure was changes in observed smoking rates in selected venues from prelaw to 12 months postlaw.

RESULTS: No venue was 100% smokefree at the 12-month postlaw observation time point. There was a significant decrease in observed smoking rates in all venues from prelaw to 12-month postlaw (prelaw mean smoking rate=20.5 vs 12-month mean smoking rate=4.7, p=0.04). In stratified analysis by venue, the differences between the prelaw and 12-month smoking rates decreased significantly in parks (prelaw mean smoking rate=37.1 vs 12-month mean smoking rate=6.5, p=0.01) but not in beaches (prelaw mean smoking rate=2.9 vs 12-month mean smoking rate=1.0, p=0.1).

CONCLUSIONS: Smokefree policies in outdoor recreational venues have the potential to decrease smoking in these venues. The effectiveness of such policies may differ by the type and usage of the venue; for instance, compliance may be better in venues that are used more often and have enforcement. Future studies may further explore factors that limit and foster the enforcement of such policies in parks and beaches.

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Published in BMJ Open, v. 3, Issue 6, p. 1-6.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ and http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/legalcode.

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