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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Saturday, July 15, 2006 - 8:30 AM

Let them breathe smoke! An analysis of second hand smoke levels in UK pubs by deprivation and food serving status

Richard P. Edwards, MD1, Adrian FR Watson, PhD2, Christian P. Hasselholdt2, Martie Van Tongeren, PhD3, Richard Holford4, Claire Probert, BA5, Kim Hargreaves6, and Judy Hart, MPH7. (1) Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Mein St, Wellington, New Zealand, (2) ARIC, Department of Environmental & Geographical Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, Oxford Rd, Manchester, United Kingdom, (3) Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, Division of Epidemiology and Health Sciences, University of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester, United Kingdom, (4) Manchester Stop Smoking Service, Lower Vickers Street, Manchester, United Kingdom, (5) North West ASH, Silver St, Bury, United Kingdom, (6) East Lancashire Public Health Network, Eagle St, Accrington, United Kingdom, (7) Evidence for Population Health, Divisionof Epidemiology and Health Sciences, University of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester, United Kingdom

Objective: The UK government proposes introducing partial smokefree legislation with exemptions for pubs and bars that do not prepare and serve food. Non-food serving pubs are disproportionately found in deprived areas. We investigated whether pubs from more deprived areas and which do not serve food have higher levels of particulate air pollution.

Methods: We recruited 64 pubs from across North West of England. Pubs were divided into four groups based on whether their local population was affluent or deprived, and whether or not they served food. Fine particles (PM2.5) were measured over a minimum of 30 minutes in areas where smoking was allowed using portable real time air quality monitors (TSI SidePak AM510). Monitoring was stratified to ensure a similar distribution of monitoring by day of the week and time of evening in all four groups.

Results: Mean time-time weighted average PM2.5 was 285.5 mg/m3 (95% CI 212.7 to 358.3). Levels were higher in pubs in deprived communities: mean 383.6 mg/m3 (95% CI 249.2 to 518.0) vs 187.4 mg/m3 (144.8 to 229.9); geometric mean 245.2 mg/m3 vs 151.2 mg/m3 (p=0.03). There was little difference in particulate levels between food and non-food serving pubs.

This study demonstrates that the UK government's proposals for smokefree legislation in the UK will offer the least protection to the most heavily exposed group - bar workers and customers in non-food serving pubs in deprived areas. The results suggest that the current proposals will work against the stated UK government's stated aim to reduce health inequalities.