Smokefree Policies Improve Air Quality in Hospitality Settings

  • Breathing secondhand smoke from cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products that burn has immediate, harmful effects on health (see Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke).
  • Many studies show that comprehensive smokefree laws that prohibit smoking in all indoor areas of worksites and public places, including bars and restaurants, improve air quality and reduce exposure to secondhand smoke.1-14
  • These studies usually measure levels of respirable suspended particulates, or RSPs, before and after a smokefree law is put in place to measure any change.
  • One specific type of RSPs that are assessed in these studies is 2.5 microns or less in diameter (PM2.5).
    • These particles are easily inhaled deep into the lungs.
    • They are released in large amounts when tobacco products, such as cigarettes and cigars, are burned.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Studies

Hospitality Settings (e.g., Bars, Restaurants, and Casinos)

Peer-Reviewed Studies and Their Results
Studies in: Found that: Resulted in:
United States and U.S. Territories
Delaware, U.S. (2004)1 Statewide
smokefree law
91% reduction in average PM2.5 levels in 1 casino, 6 bars, and 1 pool hall studied in Wilmington
Hawaii, U.S. (2008)2 Statewide
smokefree law
90% reduction in average PM2.5 levels in 15 bars and restaurants on different islands
Minnesota, U.S.(2010)3 Statewide
smokefree law
76% to 95% reduction in average PM2.5 levels in 62 bars and restaurants studied in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area
New York, U.S. (2004)4 Statewide
smokefree law
84% reduction in average PM2.5 levels in 20 bars, restaurants, and bowling alleys studied in Western New York
Puerto Rico (2011)5 Territorywide
smokefree law
88% reduction in average PM2.5 levels in 10 casinos studied in the San Juan metropolitan area
Puerto Rico (2010)6 Territorywide
smokefree law
84% reduction in average PM2.5 levels in 32 restaurants and 96% reduction in average PM2.5 levels in 23 pubs and discos studied in the San Juan metropolitan area
Ontario, Canada (2010)7 Provincewide
smokefree law
83% to 87% reduction in average PM2.5 levels in 23 coffee shops and 24 bars in Toronto and Windsor, Ontario
England (2008)8 National
smokefree law
96% reduction in average PM2.5 levels in 35 bars, pubs, nightclubs, bingo halls, private-member clubs, cafes, and betting shops in 6 regions
Greece (2012)9 National
smokefree law
81% reduction in average PM2.5 levels in 43 bars, restaurants, and cafes in 5 regions
Ireland (2007)10 National
smokefree law
83% reduction in average PM2.5 levels in 42 pubs studied in Dublin
Ireland (2005)11 National
smokefree law
75% to 96% reduction in average PM2.5 levels in 9 pubs studied in Galway
Italy (2005)12 National
smokefree law
64% reduction in average PM2.5 levels after 1 year in 14 bars, 6 fast food restaurants, 8 restaurants, 6 video game parlors, and 6 pubs in Rome
Scotland (2007)13 National
smokefree law
86% reduction in average PM2.5 levels in 41 pubs in Aberdeen and Edinburgh and the Borders and Aberdeenshire council regions
Spain (2010)14 National
smokefree law
92% reduction in average PM2.5 levels in 178 hospitality settings in 3 regions
  1. Repace J. Respirable Particles and Carcinogens in the Air of Delaware Hospitality Venues Before and After a Smoking Ban [PDF–327 KB]. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2004;46(9):887–905 [accessed 2014 Mar 11].
  2. Pobutsky A, Krupitsky D, Kanja ML, Lipsher J.. Hawaii Air Quality Monitoring Assessment: Some Effects of Hawaii’s Smoke-Free Work and Public Places Law. Hawaii Medical Journal 2008;67(6):149–55 [accessed 2014 Mar 11].
  3. Bohac DL, Hewett MJ, Kapphahn KI, Grimsrud DT, Apte MG, Gundel LA. Change in Indoor Particle Levels After a Smoking Ban in Minnesota Bars and Restaurants. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2010;39(6 Suppl 1):S3–9 [accessed 2014 Mar 11].
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Indoor Air Quality in Hospitality Venues Before and After Implementation of a Clean Indoor Air Law—Western New York, 2003. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2004;53(44):1038–41 [accessed 2014 Mar 11].
  5. Marin HA, Diaz-Toro EC. Reduced Exposure to Secondhand Smoke at Casinos in Puerto Rico After the Implementation of a Workplace Smoking Ban in 2007: A Pre-Post Design. Puerto Rico Health Science Journal 2011;30(4):182–7 [accessed 2014 Mar 11].
  6. Marin HA, Diaz-Toro EC . The Effect of the Smoke-Free Workplace Policy in the Exposure to Secondhand Smoke in Restaurants, Pubs, and Discos in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal 2010;29(3):279–85 [accessed 2014 Mar 11].
  7. Zhang B, Bondy SJ, Chiavetta JA, Selby P, Ferrence R. The Impact of Ontario Smoke-Free Legislation on Secondhand Smoke in Enclosed Public Places. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene 2009;7(3):133–43 [accessed 2014 Mar 11].
  8. Gotz NK, Van Tongeren M, Wareing H, Wallace LM, Semple S, MacCalman L. Changes in Air Quality and Second-Hand Smoke Exposure in Hospitality Sector Businesses After Introduction of the English Smoke-Free Legislation. Journal of Public Health 2008;30(4):421–8 [accessed 2014 Mar 11].
  9. Vardavas CI, Anagnostopoulos N, Patelarou E, Minas M, Nakou C, Dramba V, et al. Five-Year Trends of Second-Hand Smoke Exposure in Greece: A Comparison Between Complete, Partial, and Prelegislation Levels. Journal of Aerosol Medicine and Pulmonary Drug Delivery 2013;25(6):349–54 [accessed 2014 Mar 11].
  10. Goodman P, Agnew M, McCaffrey M, Paul G, Clancy L. Effects of the Irish Smoking Ban on Respiratory Health of Bar Workers and Air Quality in Dublin Pubs. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 2007;175(8):840–5 [accessed 2014 Mar 11].
  11. Mulcahy M, Byrne MA, Ruprecht A. How Does the Irish Smoking Ban Measure Up? A Before and After Study of Particle Concentrations in Irish Pubs.[PDF–57.8 KB] Indoor Air 2005;15(Suppl 11):86 [accessed 2014 Mar 11].
  12. Valente P, Forastiere F, Bacosi A, Cattani G, Di Carlo S, Ferri M, et al. Exposure to Fine and Ultrafine Particles From Secondhand Smoke in Public Places Before and After the Smoking Ban, Italy 2005. Tobacco Control 2007;16(5):312–7 [accessed 2014 Mar 11].
  13. Semple S, Creely KS, Naji A, Miller BG, Ayres JG. Secondhand Smoke Levels in Scottish Pubs: The Effect of Smoke-Free Legislation. Tobacco Control 2007;16:127–32 [accessed 2014 Mar 11].
  14. Lopez MJ, Fernandez E, Perez-Rios M, Martinez-Sanchez JM, Schiaffino A, Galan I, et al. Impact of the 2011 Spanish Smoking Ban in Hospitality Venues: Indoor Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Influence of Outdoor Smoking. [PDF–398 KB]Nicotine and Tobacco Research 2013; 15(5):992–6 [accessed 2014 Mar 11].