Smoking in Italy has been banned in public places including bars, restaurants, discotheques and offices since 2005. A majority of Italians supported the ban at the time it was first implemented, but there was a lack of support from smokers and some bar owners. 5% of bar and restaurant owners immediately introduced separate smoking rooms.
Italy was the 4th European country to introduce a smoking ban in public places. On 1 August 2005 a judge ruled that business owners could not be punished for not informing the police about infringing customers. The rates of law enforcement are higher in Northern Italy, Tuscany and Sardinia, with lower rates in Southern Italy, especially in Calabria (70%) and Campania (76%).
Heart attacks in Italian adults dropped significantly following the implementation of the smoking ban. The decline in heart attacks was attributed to less passive smoking. Health Minister Girolamo Sirchia said that smoking was the leading preventable cause of death in Italy. The ban caused an 8% decrease in cigarette consumption.