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Tob Control. Mar 2004; 13(1): 17–22.
PMCID: PMC1747825

Designated "no smoking" areas provide from partial to no protection from environmental tobacco smoke

Abstract

Objective: To determine the efficacy of designated "no smoking" areas in the hospitality industry as a means of providing protection from environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), and whether certain design features assist in achieving this end.

Methodology: In the greater metropolitan region of Sydney, a representative group of 17 social and gaming clubs, licensed to serve alcoholic beverages and in which, apart from designated areas, smoking occurs, agreed to participate. In each establishment, simultaneous single measurements of atmospheric nicotine, particulate matter (10 µm; PM10) and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels were measured in a general use area and in a designated "no smoking" area during times of normal operation, together with the levels in outdoor air (PM10 and CO2 only). Analyses were made of these data to assess the extent to which persons using the "no smoking" areas were protected from exposure to ETS.

Results: By comparison with levels in general use areas, nicotine and particulate matter levels were significantly less in the "no smoking" areas, but were still readily detectable at higher than ambient levels. For nicotine, mean (SD) levels were 100.5 (45.3) µg/m3 in the areas where smoking occurred and 41.3 (16.1) µg/m3 in the "no smoking" areas. Corresponding PM10 levels were 460 (196) µg/m3 and 210 (210) µg/m3, while outdoor levels were 61 (23) µg/m3. The reduction in pollutants achieved through a separate room being designated "no smoking" was only marginally better than the reduction achieved when a "no smoking" area was contiguous with a smoking area. CO2 levels were relatively uninformative.

Conclusion: Provision of designated "no smoking" areas in licensed (gaming) clubs in New South Wales, Australia, provides, at best, partial protection from ETS—typically about a 50% reduction in exposure. The protection afforded is less than users might reasonably have understood and is not comparable with protection afforded by prohibiting smoking on the premises.

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Selected References

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