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Smoking ban leads to healthier bar staff
16 March 2006
A Norwegian study has found a reduction in airborne pollutants and nicotine exposure following a smoking ban in public places.
The researchers measured a significant reduction in the exposure of bar, club and restaurant staff to airborne pollutants since the start of the country's ban on smoking in public places in 2004.
In February, the UK parliament followed in Norway's footsteps and voted for a similar ban in England. The ban will come into effect in summer 2007. The research carried out by Dan Ellingsen and co-workers, from the Norwegian National Institute of Occupational Health, predicts that staff in the English hospitality industry will soon be healthier too.
Part of the study looked at the levels of airborne contaminants in entertainment establishments in Oslo before and after the start of the smoking ban. There has been a significant reduction in the amounts of gaseous nicotine and total dust in the air since the ban started, they found.
The group also looked at the level of cotinine, a metabolite of nicotine, in the urine of staff from the same establishments, before and after the start of the ban. They found that non-smoking staff had considerably less cotinine in their urine after the ban, and a reduction was also seen in staff who smoked.
Smoking bans in public places are a current hot topic in numerous countries. 'The data gives a sound scientific knowledge for decision makers internationally when addressing the issue of the introduction of a smoking ban,' said Elligsen.
D G Ellingsen, G Fladseth, H L Daae, M Gjølstad, K Kjærheim, M Skogstad, R Olsen, S Thorud and P Molander, J. Environ. Monit., 2006, 8, 362 (DOI: 10.1039/b600050a)