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Smoking Rooms Don't Work

Ventilation puts non-smoking workers at risk

Workplaces that restrict smokers to designated smoking rooms still expose non-smoking employees to harmful chemicals, according to a Canadian study.

"The most advanced ventilation techniques can reduce environmental tobacco smoke by up to 90 percent, but even with this drastic reduction, the remaining 10 percent is still 2,000 times greater than what would be considered acceptable," says Roberta Ferrence, director of the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit at the University of Toronto.

The researchers say the only way to completely protect non-smoking workers from second-hand smoke is to ban smoking entirely from workplaces, according to a Canadian Press report from C-Health.

Second-hand smoke can cause lung cancer and contribute to heart disease in adults. In the home, children can be affected by passive smoking, which has been linked to sudden infant death syndrome, asthma and other respiratory problems. A recent HealthDay story describes recent research showing a tentative link between second-hand smoke and dental cavities in kids.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency explains the risks of second-hand smoke in greater detail.

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