Background: On 31 May 2012, South Australian Government amended the Tobacco Products Regulation Act 2007 to include smoking bans in prescribed (outdoor) public transport areas (bus stops, tram stops, railway stations, taxi ranks and airports) and within 10 metres of children’s outdoor playground equipment.
Aim: The aim of this study was to track public approval for smoke-free public transport areas and children’s playgrounds prior to and following the new legislation.
Methods: Approval of the new smoke-free regulations were investigated across three cross-sectional telephone surveys; with samples representative of the population aged 18 years and over. Interviews occurred pre-legislation in March-April 2011 (wave 1; n=2002) and April-June (wave 2; n=2005), as well as approximately 18 months post-legislation in October-December 2013 (wave 3; n=2013).
Results: The approval rate for smoke-free children’s playgrounds increased from 94.8% in wave 2 to 97.8% in wave 3. The approval rate for smoke-free public transport stops was just under 80% in waves 1 and 2 pre-legislation, but significantly increased to 93.5% post-legislation (wave 3). Furthermore, approval by smokers significantly increased from 50.9% (wave 1; pre-legislation) to 83.4% (wave 3; post-legislation). ‘Never’ smokers had a 5.4 times increased odds of approving smoke-free transport stops than smokers (p<0.001).
Conclusions: Smoke-free outdoor public transport areas and children’s playgrounds have strong community support. Moreover, support increased following the introduction of the legislation banning smoking in these areas, for smokers as well as non-smokers. Tracking public attitudes towards new smoke-free outdoor policies is useful for policy makers deliberating on implementing further regulations.