I would have predicted that the ban would never work in pubs. But it did – pretty well instantaneously as best as I could tell. If it hadn’t been for the Irish example, I would have bet even larger amounts that the ban would never have taken off in Italy (…where the general attitude to large swathes of civil and criminal law seems best characterized as a kind of amiable contempt). But again, it appears to have worked.
I suspect three forces are at work:
- Smoking norms turned out to be incredibly complicated views of public and private space, and the bans fit nicely inside them;
- Widespread acceptance of the harm of environmental tobacco smoke empowered nonsmokers;
- The bans – and, indeed, the significant increases in tobacco taxes – were not complete, and gave smokers a feeling of agency.