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Ireland's Smoking Ban Cut Pub Toxins Dramatically

Study found pollutants reduced 83%, secondhand smoke exposure by 99 percent

WEDNESDAY, April 18, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Ireland's workplace smoking ban led to 83 percent less air pollution and 80 percent less airborne carcinogens in pubs and improved respiratory health among pub workers, a new study shows.

Published in the April 16 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the one-year study included 42 pubs in Dublin and 73 male pub workers who received lung function tests before and after the smoking ban was put in place on March 29, 2004. Before the ban, the pub workers reported that they were exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke more than 40 hours a week, compared to about 25 minutes a week after the ban -- a 99 percent reduction.

The bar workers' lung function tests showed significant improvement after implementation of the smoking ban, the study said. There was also a decrease in the workers' self-reported health symptoms.

The study was led by Dr. Luke Clancy, director of the Research Institute for a Tobacco Free Society in Dublin.

"The article ... adds to the evidence from other studies that what smoke-free advocates have said all along is true: Comprehensive smoking bans in bars dramatically reduce the levels of fine-particulate matters, chemicals and gases in the air, and improve bar workers' health," Fiona Godfrey, European Union Policy Adviser at the European Respiratory Society in Brussels, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

If all European countries adopted workplace smoking bans, from 5 million to 10 million premature deaths from smoking could be prevented over the next generation, Godfrey estimated.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about secondhand smoke.

SOURCE: American Thoracic Society, news release, April 16, 2007
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