Introduction: The Spanish tobacco control law of 2006 was modified in January 2011, banning smoking in all hospitality venues. The objective of the study was to assess the impact of the 2011 Spanish smoking ban on secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure in hospitality venues, and to analyze the potential impact of outdoor smokers close to entrances on indoor SHS levels after the law came into force.
Methods: Before-and-after evaluation study with repeated measures. The study was carried out in three regions of Spain (Catalonia, Galicia, and Madrid) and included a random sample of 178 hospitality venues. We measured vapor-phase nicotine and particulate matter 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter (PM2.5) as SHS markers at baseline (November-December 2010) and at follow-up (April-June 2011). We also recorded tobacco consumption variables such as the presence of butts, ashtrays, and smokers. In the posttest assessment, we also recorded the number of outdoor smokers close to the entrance.
Results: A total of 351 nicotine and 160 PM2.5 measurements were taken. Both nicotine and PM2.5 concentrations decreased by more than 90% (nicotine from 5.73 to 0.57 µg/m(3), PM2.5 from 233.38 to 18.82 µg/m(3)). After the law came into force, both nicotine and PM2.5 concentrations were significantly higher in venues with outdoor smokers close to the entrance than in those without outdoor smokers. All the observational tobacco consumption variables significantly decreased (p < .001).
Conclusions: SHS exposure in hospitality venues dramatically decreased after the 2011 Spanish smoking ban. SHS from outdoor smokers close to entrances seems to drift inside venues. Smoking control legislation should consider outdoor restrictions to ensure complete protection against SHS.