Smoking in urban outdoor public places: Behaviour, experiences, and implications for public health

Pamela Kaufman, Kara Griffin, Joanna Cohen, Nathan Perkins, Roberta Ferrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper identifies factors that influence where people smoke outdoors and examines the impact of smoking on people who use outdoor public places. Direct observations of smoking at 12 outdoor public places and semi-structured interviews with 35 non-smoking and smoking adults were used to gather information in Toronto, Canada, about where people smoke, and smoking related behaviours, perspectives, and experiences. Observation and interview data show that smoking at building entrances was problematic. In total, approximately 37% of smoking observed across the sites was within 9. m of building entrances. Shelter, convenience, the social culture of smoking, visibility, and the presence of non-smokers were key factors that influenced where people smoked. Clearly defined rules for smoking at building entrances may allow users of public spaces to avoid tobacco smoke when entering and exiting. However, further research is needed regarding the effectiveness of outdoor restrictions and potential unintended consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)961-968
Number of pages8
JournalHealth and Place
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Outdoor public places
  • Public health policy
  • Smoke-free policies
  • Tobacco smoke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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