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Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Respiratory Symptoms Among Casino, Club, and Office Workers in Victoria, Australia

Wakefield, Melanie; Cameron, Melissa; Inglis, Graeme; Letcher, Tessa; Durkin, Sarah

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: July 2005 - Volume 47 - Issue 7 - pp 698-703
Original Articles

Objective: To examine the association between smoke-free policies, exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) at work, and self-reported respiratory and sensory symptoms of workers.

Method: Ninety-one nonsmoking workers recruited from three workplaces with varying smoking policies completed a telephone-administered questionnaire and provided saliva samples (before and after usual work shift) for cotinine analysis.

Results: Mean before–after shift saliva cotinine per hour worked was significantly higher among club (0.42 ng/mL/hr worked) than casino workers (0.18 ng/mL/hr worked) (P < 0.001), club than office workers (0.03 ng/mL/hr worked) (P < 0.001), and casino than office workers (P < 0.001). Casino and club workers reported similar levels of respiratory morbidity and were more likely to have sore eyes (odds ratio [OR] = 5.5, P < 0.01) and a sore throat (OR = 4.3, P < 0.05) compared with office employees.

Conclusion: Air-conditioning interventions reduce, but fail to eliminate, exposure of hospitality workers to SHS. Such exposure is associated with measurable increases in the risk of respiratory symptoms.

From the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, The Cancer Council Victoria, Australia.

Melanie Wakefield has no commercial interest related to this article.

Address correspondence to: Professor Melanie Wakefield, Director, Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, Cancer Control Research Institute, The Cancer Council Victoria, 1 Rathdowne Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053, Australia. E-mail: Melanie.Wakefield@cancervic.org.au.

©2005The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine