Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 February 2014
In March 2004, Ireland became the first country to introduce a nationwide workplace smoking ban. The primary aim of the ban was to reduce people’s exposure to second-hand smoke. A 95% compliance rate among employers suggests this aim was achieved. By prohibiting smoking in the majority of indoor working places, an effect of the ban was to increase the non-monetary cost of smoking. The aim of this paper is to examine whether the extra non-monetary cost of smoking was concentrated on the employed. A difference-in-differences approach is used to measure changes in smoking behaviour among the employed relative to the non-working population following the introduction of the workplace smoking ban. The research finds that the workplace smoking ban did not induce a greater reduction in smoking prevalence among the employed population compared with the non-working population. In fact, the evidence suggests a significantly larger decrease in smoking prevalence among the non-workers relative to the employed. Changes in the real price of cigarettes and changes in attitudes to risk are discussed as possible causes for the pattern observed.