Exposure to ultrafine particles in hospitality venues with partial smoking bans

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Fine particles in hospitality venues with insufficient smoking bans indicate health risks from passive smoking. In a random sample of Viennese inns (restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and discotheques) effects of partial smoking bans on indoor air quality were examined by measurement of count, size and chargeable surface of ultrafine particles (UFPs) sized 10-300 nm, simultaneously with mass of particles sized 300-2500 nm (PM2.5). Air samples were taken in 134 rooms unannounced during busy hours and analyzed by a diffusion size classifier and an optical particle counter. Highest number concentrations of particles were found in smoking venues and smoking rooms (median 66,011 pt/cm3). Even non-smoking rooms adjacent to smoking rooms were highly contaminated (median 25,973 pt/cm3), compared with non-smoking venues (median 7408 pt/cm3). The particle number concentration was significantly correlated with the fine particle mass (P < 0.001). We conclude that the existing tobacco law in Austria is ineffective to protect customers in non-smoking rooms of hospitality premises. Health protection of non-smoking guests and employees from risky UFP concentration is insufficient, even in rooms labeled “non-smoking”. Partial smoking bans with separation of smoking rooms failed.

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