Effects of a restricted work-site smoking policy on employees who smoke

Am J Public Health. 1994 May;84(5):773-8. doi: 10.2105/ajph.84.5.773.


Objectives: This study evaluated the biological and subjective consequences observed in individual smokers after implementation of a workplace smoking-restriction policy.

Methods: Employees were evaluated for 4 weeks before and 4 weeks after their workplace became smoke-free (n = 34). A comparison group of smokers whose work-site smoking was unrestricted served as controls (n = 33). Daily exposure to tobacco constituents and withdrawal effects were measured.

Results: Smokers at the restricted site had verified smoking reduction (mean = four cigarettes per day) and significantly reduced nicotine and carbon monoxide during the work shift. There were increases in ratings of some common withdrawal symptoms (cravings/urges, concentration difficulties, increased eating, depression). No evidence of compensatory smoking during nonwork hours was found. Overall tobacco exposure, as measured in saliva cotinine, showed a nonsignificant 15% decline.

Conclusions: Workplace smoking restriction markedly altered smoking patterns (i.e., reduced daytime smoking) and reduced cotinine levels to an amount consistent with cigarette reduction. Thus, work-site smoking restriction may promote meaningful, albeit limited, reductions in tobacco exposure and consequent health risks.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Behavior
  • Cotinine / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / analysis
  • Occupational Health*
  • Organizational Policy
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Workplace


  • Nicotine
  • Cotinine