Secondhand smoke exposure in bars and restaurants in Guatemala City: before and after smoking ban evaluation

Cancer Causes Control. 2011 Jan;22(1):151-6. doi: 10.1007/s10552-010-9673-8. Epub 2010 Nov 3.


Objective: In February 2009, Guatemala implemented a comprehensive smoking ban. We assessed air nicotine levels in bars and restaurants 6 months after the ban (post-ban) and compared them with levels found in 2006 (pre-ban).

Methods: Exposure was estimated by passive sampling of vapor-phase nicotine using samplers (n=50) placed for 7 working days in 10 bars and 11 restaurants in Guatemala City. Air nicotine was measured by gas chromatography, and the time-weighted average concentration in μg/m(3) was estimated. Employees answered a survey about smoke-free workplaces (n = 32) and compared with pre-ban (n = 37) results.

Results: Nicotine was detectable in all bars pre- and post-ban. In restaurants, it was detectable in all pre- and 73% post-ban. Median nicotine concentrations in bars significantly decreased from 4.58 μg/m(3) (IQR, 1.71, 6.45) pre-ban to 0.28 μg/m(3) (IQR 0.17, 0.66) post-ban (87% decrease). In restaurants, concentrations significantly decreased from 0.58 μg/m(3) (IQR, 0.44, 0.71) to 0.04 μg/m(3) (IQR 0.01, 0.11) (95% decrease). Employees' support for a smoke-free workplace increased in the post-ban survey (from 32 to 81%, p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Six months after the implementation of a smoke-free law in Guatemala, nicotine levels were significantly decreased in bars and restaurants and workers' support for the law substantially increased.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Guatemala
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nicotine / analysis*
  • Restaurants / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / analysis*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Nicotine