Long term compliance with California's Smoke-Free Workplace law among bars and restaurants in Los Angeles County
Objective: To assess long term compliance with the California Smoke-Free Workplace Law in Los Angeles County freestanding bars and bar/restaurants. Design: Population based annual site inspection survey of a random sample of Los Angeles County freestanding bars and bar/restaurants was conducted from 1998 to 2002. Main outcome measures: The primary outcomes of interest were patron and employee smoking. The secondary outcomes of interest were the presence of ashtrays and designated outdoor smoking areas. Results: Significant increases in patron non-smoking compliance were found for freestanding bars (45.7% to 75.8%, p<0.0001) and bar/restaurants (92.2% to 98.5%, p<0.0001) between 1998 and 2002. Increases in employee non-smoking compliance were found for freestanding bars (86.2% to 94.7%, p<0.0003) and bar/restaurants (96.5% to 99.2%, p<0.005). Conclusions: This study provides clear evidence that the California Smoke-Free Workplace Law has been effective at reducing patron and employee smoking in Los Angeles County bars and restaurants. Recommendations include educational campaigns targeted to freestanding bar owners and staff to counter perceptions of lost revenue, more rigorous enforcement, and more severe penalties for repeat violators such as alcohol licence revocation. Policymakers can enact smoke-free restaurant and bar policies to protect employees and patrons from secondhand smoke, confident that these laws can be successfully implemented.