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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 - 9:00 AM

Secondhand tobacco smoke in traditional and fast food restaurants in Latin America

Ana Navas-Acien, MD, PhD1, Armando Peruga, MD, MPH, DrPH2, Carmen Barco3, Patrick Breysse1, Heather Wipfli, and Jonathan M. Samet, MD, MS4. (1) Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N Wolfe Street, Room W7033B, Baltimore, MD 21205, (2) Tobacco Control and Consumers' Health Team, Pan American Health Organization, 525 23rd St NW, Washington, DC 20037, (3) Tobacco Control, CEDRO, Lima, Peru, (4) Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 North Wolfe St., Suite W6041, Baltimore, MD 21205

Objective: To assess secondhand smoke concentrations in traditional and fast-food restaurants in the capital cities of Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay in conjunction with the Smoke-Free Americas Initiative.

Methods: Using a common protocol in all countries, air nicotine concentration was measured in seven restaurants per country, with at least one of them being a fast-food establishment. A total of 121 sampling devices were placed for seven days, 80 in traditional restaurants and 41 in fast-food restaurants.

Results: Nicotine was detected in 98% of the restaurants. The median nicotine concentration in traditional restaurants was 0.83 g/m3 (interquartile range 0.39 2.20) and in fast-food restaurants it was 0.66 g/m3 (interquartile range 0.11 1.97). Small differences were observed across countries. The median nicotine concentration in places with no smoking policy was 1.15 g/m3 (interquartile range 0.01 6.10, N=54). In places with partial smoking restrictions the concentration of nicotine was 0.85 g/m3 (interquartile range 0.10 6.49, N=59) and in places with smoking bans it was 0.07 g/m3 (interquartile range below limit of detection 0.68, N=8). Restaurants are frequently excluded from legislative efforts to ban smoking. While voluntary smoke-free policies may be difficult to occur in traditional restaurants, fast-food restaurants can take worlwide initiatives in implementing smoke-free policies that protect workers and customers from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure.

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