England joins on Sunday the growing list of places that ban smoking in public buildings, taxis and other places with a tough law that includes even Buckingham Palace.
Pubs, clubs and restaurants will all be smoke-free. Taxi and delivery drivers have been warned that they too could be fined 50 pounds, or about $100, if caught lighting up inside work vehicles.
Experts say the bans have become an irreversible trend because of soaring health costs and public unease over second-hand smoke. Some of the strictest smoking bans are in the United States, even though there is no federal anti-smoking policy. New York and Florida have stringent bans, while California has certain outdoor smoking bans.
Spain, Italy, Iran, Norway, Sweden, Singapore, South Africa, Uruguay and New Zealand have passed legislation to restrict smoking. France banned smoking in many public places in February and plans to extend the ban to cafes and restaurants next year. Finland is imposing a ban in 2009.
Despite the spread of bans, the World Health Organization predicts steady sales of tobacco. In its Tobacco Atlas, the WHO said that by 2030 there will be "at least another two billion smokers in the world" and an expected decrease in male smokers "will be offset by an increase in female smoking rates, especially in developing countries."
In advance of the English ban, anti-smoking ads have coated bus stops and the British government has subsidized programs to help people quit. The rest of Britain — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — already has smoking bans in place.