There is a report in the December, 2004 medical journal, Chest, about a study in Findland which found that laws restricting smoking and advertising of tobacco in the 60s and 70s has decreased the number people with lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases in the 80s and 90s.
" In response to an increase in smoking-related diseases in the 1960s and 1970s, the Finnish government took legislative steps that banned all tobacco advertising, restricted public smoking, prohibited the sale of tobacco to minors, added health warnings to smoking packages, and used a portion of the tobacco tax revenue for smoking prevention.
To investigate whether these measures had any effect on smoking habits nationwide, the researchers reviewed smoking rates from 1960 and 2000, as well as the incidence of diseases linked to tobacco.
According to the report, the rate of smoking among men fell from 58 percent to 28 percent between 1960 and 2000. After 1971, the rate of lung cancer among men dropped from 80 cases per 100,000 men to 32 cases per 100,000 men. Likewise, death rates from respiratory disease also fell during the study period."
New York is only the sixth state in the United States to pass Clean Indoor Air Legislation. It expanded its law in July of 2003 to make it illegal to smoke in any building where there are employees. This means that bars, restaurants, factories, stores, office buildings, etc. have to be smoke free. There has been some resistance to this law especially from bar owners who claim that this law has hurt their business. The facts seem to say otherwise when sales tax receipts are analysed. At any rate, the bar owners association are kind of like holocaust deniers. They want to argue with the scientific evidence that smoking and second hand smoke causes disease. Here is more evidence.
It is also evidence that passing this kind of legislation improves the public health and saves lives as well as the costs of treating tobacco related diseases.