Objective: To examine changes in the health of bar workers after smoke-free legislation was introduced.
Design: Longitudinal study following bar workers from before legislation introduction, at 2 months after introduction and at 1 year to control for seasonal differences.
Setting: Bars across a range of socio-economic settings in Scotland.
Participants: 371 bar workers recruited from 72 bars.
Intervention: Introduction of smoke-free legislation prohibiting smoking in enclosed public places, including bars.
Main outcomes measures: Change in prevalence of self-reported respiratory and sensory symptoms.
Results: Of the 191 (51%) workers seen at 1-year follow-up, the percentage reporting any respiratory symptom fell from 69% to 57% (p = 0.02) and for sensory symptoms from 75% to 64% (p = 0.02) following reductions in exposure, effects being greater at 2 months, probably partly due to seasonal effects. Excluding respondents who reported having a cold at either baseline or 1 year, the reduction in respiratory symptoms was similar although greater for “any” sensory symptom (69% falling to 54%, p = 0.011). For non-smokers (n = 57) the reductions in reported symptoms were significant for phlegm production (32% to 14%, p = 0.011) and red/irritated eyes (44% to 18%, p = 0.001). Wheeze (48% to 31%, p = 0.006) and breathlessness (42% to 29%, p = 0.038) improved significantly in smokers. There was no relationship between change in salivary cotinine levels and change in symptoms.
Conclusions: Bar workers in Scotland reported significantly fewer respiratory and sensory symptoms 1 year after their working environment became smoke free. As these improvements, controlled for seasonal variations, were seen in both non-smokers and smokers, smoke-free working environments may have potentially important benefits even for smokers.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Review history and Supplementary material
Competing interests: None.
Funding: This study was funded by a grant from NHS Health Scotland. MP was funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Executive Department of Health at the time the study was undertaken.
▸ Additional information is published online only at http://oem.bmj.com/content/vol66/issue5
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.