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