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Health of Bar Workers Improves After Smoking Ban

Respiratory function, inflammation, quality-of-life scores improve in bar workers in Scotland

TUESDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Since Scotland banned smoking in public places, bar workers have shown improvements in respiratory function and inflammation, according to the results of a study published in the Oct. 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Daniel Menzies, M.B.Ch.B., and colleagues from Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Dundee, Scotland, examined respiratory function in 77 asthmatic and non-asthmatic non-smoking bar workers in Tayside, Scotland, from February to June 2006. They note that Scotland enacted a ban on smoking in public places on March 26, 2006.

The researchers found that fewer workers had respiratory and sensory symptoms after the ban (79.2 percent before versus 53.2 percent after). There were also significant improvements in spirometry measurements, a drop in serum cotinine levels, a reduction in total white blood cell and neutrophil counts, less airway inflammation and improved quality-of-life scores.

"The comprehensive body of research documenting the serious adverse health effects of passive smoking provides a powerful rationale for prohibiting smoking in all public places," writes Mark D. Eisner, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of California San Francisco, in an accompanying editorial. "The time has come to clear the air."

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