Smoke-Free Spaces: An anti-smoking initiative with a focus on health concerns
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Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer. Almería, Spain
Publication date: 2023-04-25
Corresponding author
Mercedes Rio Suárez   

Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer. Almería, Spain
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2023;9(Supplement):A114
Secondhand tobacco smoke is responsible for more than one million yearly deaths worldwide. Reducing spaces in which the population is exposed to this agent is a key-element in smoking control. In this context, the Spanish Association against Cancer is developing the Smoke-Free Spaces project (SFS). SFS aims to achieve a regulatory change that forbids any type of smoking in specific targeted areas. This project seeks to implement structural changes with a small number of resources and infrastructure. This anti-smoking intervention is easy to implement in populations with lower socioeconomic status. Reaching this population is key since they have fewer resources to avoid smoking and are also most vulnerable to it. Our objective is to demonstrate the feasibility of this project in small, low-income municipalities

Material and Methods:
We selected 15 municipalities in Almeria, with different characteristics that makes them vulnerable: 8 where rural and with less than 1600 inhabitants. 10 had a low average income (-10300€). 5 are poorly communicated. 8 suffer from a demographic regression. We implemented our project based on its original steps, mostly supported by advocacy work with the city council.

9 municipalities have committed to a regulatory change that has allowed the creation of 21 smoke-free spaces. 5 additional municipalities have accepted the challenge and we continue to work with them. Only 1 declined to implement this project. Among the 9 municipalities that have already implemented the new smoke-free areas: 67% are rural, 56% have less than 1600 inhabitants, 44% have an average low income, 44% are poorly communicated, and 33% suffer from a demographic regression.

Results showed that the versatility of the Smoke-free Spaces project allows for its implementation in disadvantaged and vulnerable areas, favoring an equitable approach. Also, the intervention has proven to be effective in very diverse scenarios and regarding different issues. Smoke-free legislation at the municipal level is an important process that can significantly accelerate a population’s smoke protection while national-level legislation is developed. Results showed a clear impact in terms of regulatory change, especially in small cities, and open up lines of future research to assess the scope of these changes.

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