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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 - 8:45 AM

Nonsmokers Are Not Protected by “Nonsmoking Sections” in Restaurants

S. Katharine Hammond, PhD and Charles Perrino. School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, 140 Warren Hall MC 7360, Berkeley, CA 94720-7360

Objective: As the public demands more smoke-free environments, policies have evolved that require restaurants to have smoking and nonsmoking sections. . However, the efficacy of such segregation has rarely been evaluated objectively. This study focused on measuring the passive smoking that children might experience while seated in the nonsmoking sections of family restaurants.

Methods: Volunteers from Smoke Free Indiana visited restaurants during the dinner hour and requested a seat in the nonsmoking section. Nicotine was collected on sodium bisulfate treated filters at 150 ml/min for one to two hours (detection limit 0.07 ug/m3).

Results: Samples were collected from 74 restaurants (50 to 400 seats) in 26 Indiana cities. An average of 3.5 smokers were observed. Nicotine concentrations in the nonsmoking sections ranged from 0.016 to 26.7 ug/m3, (median 2.2, mean 3.7 + 5.1 ug/m3). Special ventilation used by 22% of the restaurants reduced the variability but not the median concentration. In 15 of the restaurants the smoking sections were in a separate room, in 5 there was a full partition between the sections, and in 33 there were partial partitions. Neither ventilation nor separate rooms were effective in eliminating the concentration of second hand smoke in the nonsmoking sections; the concentrations remained higher than the weekly average concentrations found in the homes of smokers. These results have important public health significance because family restaurants were targeted, and children are particularly susceptible to the adverse health effects of passive smoking.

This research was supported by Smoke Free Indiana