Improved public health through the impact of research underpinning the introduction of Smokefree Legislation in Scotland

  • Anne Ludbrook (Coordinator)
  • Edwin Van Teijlingen (Coordinator)
  • Sheona Anne Bird (Coordinator)


Description of impact

University of Aberdeen research had impact on public policy as it was instrumental in the introduction of legislation in Scotland to restrict smoking in public places. The implementation of the legislation has impacted on the health of the public and benefited the economy through reduced use of health services.

Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) — passive smoking — had been estimated to cause more than 1,000 deaths per year in Scotland and significant morbidity. International evidence was used to model the health and economic impacts of potential legislation to eliminate smoking in public places in Scotland, under a range of scenarios. The net present value of all the benefits and costs over 30 years was demonstrated to be positive under all the scenarios examined, with a central estimate of +£4.6 billion (ranging from +£0.056 billion to +£7.4 billion).

The research results provided convincing evidence to support the passage of legislation. Following the implementation of smokefree public places in Scotland, evidence of the resulting health benefits have been accruing from 2008. These include significant reductions in admissions for acute coronary syndrome and for childhood asthma, reductions in complications of pregnancy (pre-term delivery and small for gestational age) and improvements in bar workers' health.

The claimed impact, as defined by REF guidance, therefore includes: public health and welfare have improved; public behaviour and the control of disease has changed.
Impact statusImpact Completed (Open)