BMJ published secondhand smoke air quality test resultsTobacco Control 2005;14:60-63© 2005 BMJ Publishing Group Ltd
Environmental tobacco smoke exposure in public places of European cities
M Nebot1, M J López1, G Gorini2, M Neuberger3, S Axelsson4, M Pilali5, C Fonseca6, K Abdennbi7, A Hackshaw8, H Moshammer3, A M Laurent9, J Salles10, M Georgouli5, M C Fondelli2, E Serrahima10, F Centrich10 and S K Hammond11
1 Public Health Agency, Barcelona, Spain
2 Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology Unit Center for Onchologic Study and Prevention, Tuscany Region Research Institute, Italy
3 Institut of Environmental Health, University of Vienna, Austria
4 Orebro University Hospital, Sweden
5 Hellenic Cancer Society, Athens, Greece
6 Portuguese League Against Cancer, Portugal
7 Office Française le prevention du tabagisme, Paris, France
8 St Batholomew Hospital, The London School of Medicine, London, UK
9 Laboratoire d’Hygiène de la Ville de Paris, France
10 Laboratory of the Public Health Agency, Barcelona, Spain
11 School of Public Health, University of California, USA
Correspondence to: Maria José López Public Health Agency, Barcelona, Spain; firstname.lastname@example.org
Background: Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) has important public health implications. The results of the first European multi-centre study that measured ETS exposure in a range of public places (transport, educational settings, and leisure facilities such as bars and restaurants) are presented.
Method: Nicotine vapour phase was measured using ETS passive samplers containing a filter treated with sodium bisulfate.
Results: Bars and discos are the places with the highest concentrations of nicotine from ETS, median ranging from 19 to 122 µg/m3. Restaurants had the next highest values. Concentrations of nicotine generally range from 0.1–5 µg/m3 in airports, and from 0.5–10 µg/m3 in train stations. Nicotine was also found in schools and universities, yet schools tended to have the lowest concentrations compared to all the other public places sampled. In hospitals levels were generally below 5 µg/m3.
Conclusions: Although there is some variability between cities, this study shows that tobacco smoke is present in most of the studied public places. The study also showed that in areas where smoking is prohibited, concentrations of nicotine are lower than in areas where smoking is allowed but they are not zero. The results of this study indicate that policies should be implemented that would effectively reduce levels of tobacco smoke in public areas.
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