Bar Workers' Health and Environmental Tobacco Smoke Exposure (BHETSE): Symptomatic Improvement in Bar Staff Following Smoke-Free Legislation in Scotland

Occup Environ Med. 2009 May;66(5):339-46. doi: 10.1136/oem.2008.040311. Epub 2009 Feb 10.

Abstract

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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / prevention & control
  • Cotinine / analysis
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control
  • Occupational Health / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / prevention & control*
  • Workplace / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Cotinine