Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Respiratory Symptoms Among Casino, Club, and Office Workers in Victoria, Australia

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Abstract

Objective:

To examine the association between smoke-free policies, exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) at work, and self-reported respiratory and sensory symptoms of workers.

Method:

Ninety-one nonsmoking workers recruited from three workplaces with varying smoking policies completed a telephone-administered questionnaire and provided saliva samples (before and after usual work shift) for cotinine analysis.

Results:

Mean before–after shift saliva cotinine per hour worked was significantly higher among club (0.42 ng/mL/hr worked) than casino workers (0.18 ng/mL/hr worked) (P < 0.001), club than office workers (0.03 ng/mL/hr worked) (P < 0.001), and casino than office workers (P < 0.001). Casino and club workers reported similar levels of respiratory morbidity and were more likely to have sore eyes (odds ratio [OR] = 5.5, P < 0.01) and a sore throat (OR = 4.3, P < 0.05) compared with office employees.

Conclusion:

Air-conditioning interventions reduce, but fail to eliminate, exposure of hospitality workers to SHS. Such exposure is associated with measurable increases in the risk of respiratory symptoms.

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