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Ann Ig. 2013 Sep-Oct;25(5):397-409.doi:10.7416/ai.2013.1941.

Perception of smoke-free policies among workers in an Italian Local Health Agency: survey of opinions, knowledge and behaviours.

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Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Italy.



This study evaluated the opinions and knowledge of the Health-Care-Workers and other employees about smoking in the workplace and investigated their perceptions about the implementation and strengthening of smoke-free policies and their views of proposed smoking cessation course.


This cross-sectional study analyzed data resulting from a questionnaire administered in the Local Health Agency of Rieti (Italy). Comparisons have been made according to smoking status of participants: Ever Smokers (ES) or Never Smokers (NS).


The study was conducted on a sample of 300 workers, the majority of whom think that the smoking ban is not observed in the workplace due to lack of respect for colleagues (59.2% of NS vs 40% of ES, p=0.022). Exposure to Secondhand smoke (SHS) is reported by 15.2% of ES and 30.3% of NS (p=0.006). About 50% of the participants think that the smoking ban has led to an improvement in the quality of interpersonal relationships. Strengthening the smoking ban through frequent inspections would be very effective according to 78% of ES and 88% of NS (p=0.043); having smoking cessation courses within the agency would be considered useful by 56% of ES and 68% of NS (p= 0.064). Relatively few respondents knew of the association between smoking and bladder cancer (35.2% of ES and 47.2% of NS, p=0.061), and asthma exacerbation (66% of ES and 77% of NS, p=0.040). Logistic regression models adjusted for age, gender, work categories and smoking status show that ES report that they are less likely to be exposed to SHS (OR= 0.42, 95% CI 0.22-0.78, p=0.006) and to think that people smoke because of lack of respect (OR= 0.46, 95% CI 0.24-0.87, p=0.018). More frequent inspections (OR= 0.50, 95% CI 0.26-0.95, p=0.037) and smoking cessation courses (OR= 0.61, 95% CI 0.37-1.00, p=0.053) are considered less effective by ES. ES are less likely to know that smoking is a cause of bladder cancer (OR= 0.54, 95% CI 0.32-0.90, p=0.019) and asthma exacerbation (OR= 0.53, 95% CI 0.31-0.92, p=0.023). Fifty-seven percent of current smokers would like to quit, but only 41% would join a cessation course in the agency.


The results obtained may be used to analyze the effectiveness of tobacco control policy and programs aimed at freeing companies from smoke. Policy makers should provide the best possible protection for workers against exposure to SHS, in particular with enforcement of the smoking ban and smoking cessation courses tailored to maximize potential benefits for both workers and employers.

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