Tobacco use is a major public health problem and the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality worldwide , while exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) is a serious health hazard for non-smokers, especially children [2–4], SHS contains over 4,000 chemical compounds, including carcinogens, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, aromatic amines, volatile- and tobacco-specific nitrosamines, as well as other toxic or irritating compounds, such as carbon monoxide, benzene, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, and respirable particulate matter . Over the past few years, an accumulating body of evidence has connected SHS with concerns about the health effects of indoor air-quality in public spaces, especially hospitality venues  and a number of studies have indicated that the introduction of smoking bans from all public spaces results in improved air-quality [7–9] and a significant drop in hospital admissions for myocardial infarction [10–17] and respiratory problems .
The initial success and prolonged maintenance of smoke free legislations differ significantly from country to country. For instance, after the implementation of a total smoking ban in Norway, a substantial reduction in airborne nicotine and total dust was observed in bars and restaurants (from 28.3 μg/m3 and 262 μg/m3, respectively, to 0.6 μg/m3 and 77 μg/m3) while the urinary cotinine levels also reduced in non-smokers (9.5 μg/m3 to 1.4 μg/m3) . Similarly, in a study conducted in pubs before and two months after the implementation of Scottish legislation to prohibit smoking in substantially enclosed public places, indoor particle levels, as measured by PM2.5, reduced significantly from 246 μg/m3 to 20 μg/m3, an 86% reduction . Secondhand smoke levels in Israeli pubs, bars and cafes also declined following the implementation of a non-comprehensive smoke free legislation (which extended existing restrictions on smoking in public places, including for the first time bars and cafes) and the noted reduction in PM2.5 reached 34% (from 245 μg/m3 to 161 μg/m3) . The differences could be attributable to a number of factors, including the comprehensiveness of the law, where the responsibility for ensuring smoke free indoor public places was placed, the concurrent use population preparedness and signage , authority efficiency , social beliefs , tobacco industry interference , and the role of the non-smokers in actively demanding enforcement .
Besides its definite health related gains and the evidence from the majority of research that indicates that smoking bans have no dire economic effect on hospitality venues  arguments that smoking bans have detrimental effects on patronage and sales of the different establishments affecting both income and related employment are still expressed, mainly by owners of hospitality venues and other advocates for the rights of smokers, as noted in the literature [26, 27]. In Cyprus, similar arguments, as in the rest of the world, are put forward (informal communication with the Health Committee of the Cyprus Parliament).
In Cyprus, cigarette smoking claims approximately 600 lives each year (out of an approximate total of 5000 deaths per year), while it has an annual direct economic burden exceeding 222 million Euros in healthcare expenditures and lost wages , not including the ramifications for passive smokers. (Though more recent data is not available, there is no evidence that these estimates have decreased.) Furthermore, Cyprus has one of the highest levels of cigarette consumption among EU member nations with prevalence rates being high among adults and youth alike, being 38.1% among adult males (daily smokers) and 35.7% among high-school boys (defined as having smoked on at least 1 of the last 30 days) and 10.5% among adult females (daily smokers) and 23.2% among high-school girls (defined as having smoked on at least 1 of the last 30 days) [29, 30]. Unfortunately, smoking is still socially acceptable in Cyprus and several factors have been cited previously to be associated with the high prevalence of smoking among youth, including peers smoking, availability of pocket money, false consensus, and others .
Cyprus is a signatory of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and ratified it in 2003. One provision of the FCTC calls for restrictions on public smoking (Article 8, Section 2) . So as to reduce smoking, protect non-smokers, and establish an environment that promotes health, Cyprus banned smoking in all enclosed public places and hospitality venues on January 1, 2010; more specifically, this was done under the new clauses added to the Protection of Health (Tobacco Control) Laws 2002–2009a prohibiting smoking in all public places, including places of entertainment (restaurants, bars etc.), in all government buildings, public transport, and in private cars carrying any passenger under 16 years old. There is also a complete ban on advertising and promotion in mass media, such as television, cable television, radio, cinema, or other services of the information society, as defined in the Protection of Health (Tobacco Control) Laws 2002–2009 and the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation Law of 1959–2010.
The present study assessed air quality, before and after the comprehensive law was passed, by measuring indoor levels of SHS within hospitality venues in Cyprus, examined the degree of compliance to the comprehensive smoking ban legislation and the role of enforcement authorities in this, and assessed the effect of the smoke free legislation on revenue and employment in the Cypriot hospitality industry, including restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and cafeterias.