Legislation for smoke-free workplaces and health of bar workers in Ireland: before and after study

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Allwright, Shane
Paul, Gillian
Greiner, Birgit A.
Mullally, Bernie J.
Pursell, Lisa
Kelly, Alan
Bonner, Brendan
D'Eath, Maureen
McConnell, Bill
McLaughlin, James P.
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British Medical Association, BMJ Publishing Group Ltd
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Objectives: To compare exposure to secondhand smoke and respiratory health in bar staff in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland before and after the introduction of legislation for smoke-free workplaces in the Republic. Design: Comparisons before and after the legislation in intervention and control regions. Setting Public houses in three areas in the Republic (intervention) and one area in Northern Ireland (control). Participants: 329 bar staff enrolled in baseline survey; 249 (76%) followed up one year later. Of these, 158 were non-smokers both at baseline and follow-up. Main outcome measures: Salivary cotinine concentration, self reported exposure to secondhand smoke, and respiratory and sensory irritation symptoms. Results: In bar staff in the Republic who did not themselves smoke, salivary cotinine concentrations dropped by 80% after the smoke-free law (from median 29.0 nmol/l (95% confidence interval 18.2 to 43.2 nmol/l)) to 5.1 nmol/l (2.8 to 13.1 nmol/l) in contrast with a 20% decline in Northern Ireland over the same period (from median 25.3 nmol/l (10.4 to 59.2 nmol/l) to 20.4 nmol/l (13.2 to 33.8 nmol/l)). Changes in self reported exposure to secondhand smoke were consistent with the changes in cotinine concentrations. Reporting any respiratory symptom declined significantly in the Republic (down 16.7%, -26.1% to -7.3%) but not in Northern Ireland (0% difference, -32.7% to 32.7%). After adjustment for confounding, respiratory symptoms declined significantly more in the Republic than in Northern Ireland and the decline in cotinine concentration was twice as great. Conclusion: The smoke-free law in the Republic of Ireland protects non-smoking bar workers from exposure to secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoke effects , Smoke-free workplace legislation , Passive smoking
Allwright S., Paul G., Greiner B., Mullally BJ., et al, 2005. Legislation for smoke-free workplaces and health of bar workers in Ireland: before and after study. BMJ, 331(7525), pp. 1117-1123.