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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
Objective: The environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure in workplaces is especially harmful due to the long time of exposure. The objective of this study is to measure, using an airborne marker, the levels of ETS in workplaces of eight European cities.
Methods: The levels of ETS were assessed using passive samplers containing a sodium bisulphate treated filter that measured vapour phase nicotine. The samplers were placed for a week in workplaces of three different occupational sectors (Hospitality sector, Private sector and Public Administration) in eight European countries (Austria, Spain, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, and Slovak Republic). A total of 1050 samples were taken, aproximately 130 samples per country.
Results: Despite the differences of ETS levels across countries, consistently the highest levels of exposure were observed in the hospitality sector. In pubs and night bars the median concentration ranged from 3,48 microgr/m3 in France to 113,78 microgr/m3 in Spain. Lower concentrations were found in restaurants, where the median value ranged from 0,16 microgr/m3 in Ireland to 3,62 microgr/m3 in Spain. Workplaces of the private sector and public administration showed the lowest levels, with median values of 0,22 microgr/m3 and 0,21 microgr/m3 respectively. These results show very high levels of ETS in the hospitality sector and significant levels of ETS in the rest of workplaces studied. Furthermore, there are significant differences between European countries that could be related to the differences in the national smoking regulations. These results indicate that well implemented smoke-free policies are necessary to eliminate exposure to ETS.