Changes in air quality and second-hand smoke exposure in hospitality sector businesses after introduction of the English Smoke-free legislation

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Abstract

Background

To monitor and disseminate the short-term effects of the English Smoke-free legislation on air quality and employee exposure in businesses of the hospitality industry.

Methods

Indoor particle concentrations and salivary cotinine levels were measured in businesses in the hospitality sector and non-smoking employees one month before and after the implementation of the legislation. Results were immediately released to the media to announce the improvements in air quality and employee exposure to the wider public.

Results

Measurements were collected in 49 businesses and from 75 non-smoking individuals. Indoor PM2.5 concentrations decreased by 95% from 217 µg/m3 at baseline to 11 µg/m3 at follow-up (P < 0.001). Salivary cotinine in employees was reduced by 75%, from 3.6 ng/ml at baseline to 0.9 ng/ml at follow-up (P < 0.001). The findings were presented to the public through press releases and interviews and were cited in over 20 media articles.

Conclusion

The project demonstrates the positive effects of the English Smoke-free legislation on air quality and second-hand smoke exposure in the hospitality industry sector. We believe that quick and positive feedback to the public on the effects of smoking restrictions is essential when introducing public health legislation such as the Smoke-free legislation.

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