Background: No data on secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure are available on a national level in Italy. To assess the prevalence of exposure to SHS in indoor public places, home and cars in non-smoking Italian population, we conducted a survey 5 years after the national smoking ban.
Methods: In 2010, we conducted a survey on a representative sample of the Italian population aged≥15 years. Analyses were conducted on 2365 non-smokers. Current (during the previous week) self-reported exposure to SHS was assessed in public places, at home and in private cars.
Results: The prevalence of SHS exposure in any setting (excluding workplaces) was 31.2%. SHS exposure was 10.2% in public places, 15.6% at home and 17.9% in cars. The corresponding estimates among the young (15-24 years) were 54.2% in any setting, 21.4% in public places, 27.1% at home and 32.9% in cars. By multivariate analysis, males, the young, subjects from southern Italy and former smokers were more frequently exposed in any setting.
Conclusions: The Italian smoking ban substantially decreased SHS exposure. However, specific subpopulations, including the young, are still frequently exposed both in public and private places. We observed a relatively high SHS exposure in private vehicles. Thus, further control to improve compliance with the smoking ban and an extension of the smoke-free legislation to motor vehicles are needed.