As the smoking ban enters its second year today, public support for the legislation has increased, with 84% of adults in Wales now supporting smoke-free public places compared to 71% prior to the ban.
Dr Tony Jewell, Chief Medical Officer for Wales said:
"The introduction of the smoking ban in enclosed public places has been a milestone for public health and the single most important measure that the Welsh Assembly Government could take to improve the health of the nation and reduce health inequalities.
"The research shows that this has been a popular measure. The widespread public acceptance of and support for the legislation reflects the impact of the Assembly Government's campaign to raise public awareness of the health risks of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. The high rates of compliance are also due to the extensive work done by local authorities to inform and support businesses.
"We are also seeing more smokers trying to give up. The Assembly Government will continue to work with the National Public Health Service and the Smokers Helpline Wales to ensure that support is there for smokers who want to quit.
"Through the Public Health Strategic Framework, which is now being developed for Wales, we will be looking to reduce smoking rates further and to maintain and promote smoke-free environments. Exposure of children to second-hand smoke in the home is still a matter of concern, and I am keen to see initiatives which will encourage smoke-free homes."
Since the ban was introduced only 79 individuals have been issued with fines for smoking in restricted areas. This reflects the good work carried out by local authorities to inform and support businesses to adapt and comply with the legislation. To date only one business has been prosecuted for allowing smoking in smoke-free premises.
Not only has the air quality of public places improved but according to the latest survey, 33% of smokers said that they were smoking fewer cigarettes and the Stop Smoking Wales helpline has experienced a 20% increase in the number of people contacting the service.