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Effect of the comprehensive smoke-free law on time trends in smoking behaviour in primary healthcare patients in Spain: a longitudinal observational study

04 Mar 2019


This study aimed to analyse the impact of comprehensive smoke-free legislation (SFL) on the prevalence and incidence of adult smoking in primary healthcare (PHC) patients from three Spanish regions, overall and stratified by sex.


Longitudinal observational study conducted between 2008 and 2013.


66 PHC teams in Catalonia, Navarre and the Balearic Islands (Spain).


Population over 15 years of age assigned to PHC teams.

Primary and secondary outcomes measures

Quarterly age-standardised prevalence of non-smoker, smoker and ex-smoker and incidence of new smoker, new ex-smoker and ex-smoker relapse rates were estimated with data retrieved from PHC electronic health records. Joinpoint analysis was used to analyse the trends of age-standardised prevalence and incidence rates. Trends were expressed as annual percentage change and average annual percent change.


The overall standardised smoker prevalence rate showed a significant downward trend (higher in men than women) and the overall standardised ex-smoker prevalence rate showed a significant increased trend (higher in women than men) in the three regions. Standardised smoker and ex-smoker prevalence rates were higher for men than women in all regions. With regard to overall trends of incidence rates, new smokers decreased significantly in Catalonia and Navarre and similarly in men and women, new ex-smokers decreased significantly and more in men in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, and ex-smoker relapse increased in Catalonia (particularly in women) and decreased in Navarre.


Trends in smoking behaviour in PHC patients remain unchanged after the implementation of comprehensive SFL. The impact of the comprehensive SFL might have been lessened by the effect of the preceding partial SFL.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open