Validity and reliability of self-reported exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in work offices

J Occup Environ Med. 1997 Nov;39(11):1111-4. doi: 10.1097/00043764-199711000-00012.


Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is an occupational carcinogen. Large companies often examine ETS exposure by employee surveys. However, reliable and valid self-report measures have been lacking. This study compared validity and reliability of various self-report measures. One hundred and seven nonsmokers from 11 Dutch worksites were interviewed. Three self-report measures were correlated with nicotine concentrations collected with area monitors in nonsmokers' offices. Nicotine concentrations averaged 12.7 micrograms/m. The item "How much tobacco smoke, on average, is there during a day in your work office?" correlated highest with nicotine concentrations (r = 0.65; P < 0.001) and produced the lowest standard error of measurement. It was concluded that this simple self-report item may be a valid measure to assess the reach and effectiveness of worksite smoking policies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Data Collection
  • Environmental Monitoring / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Nicotine / analysis*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / statistics & numerical data*
  • Workplace


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Nicotine