Report Details Tobacco Industry Efforts Against Smoke-Free Places
WEDNESDAY, May 29 (HealthScoutNews) -- The tobacco industry has conspired to prevent bars and restaurants from becoming smoke-free, says new research.
Cigarette manufacturers gave money to hotel and restaurant associations to stifle discussion about smoke-free premises and they also preyed on fears that a no-smoking policy would hurt profits, say researchers from the University of California at San Francisco who analyzed tobacco industry documents.
The campaign began in the 1970s, and intensified in the face of mounting evidence of the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. Worse yet, the strategy is ongoing, says the report, which appears today in the June issue of Tobacco Control.
The industry documents reveal that tobacco manufacturers gave donations to more than 65 hospitality groups in the United States and to the International Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes, active mainly in Europe.
A second study in the same issue of Tobacco Control says there's conclusive evidence of secondhand smoke exposure among workers in the entertainment and leisure industry.
Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley analyzed saliva samples from 42 non-smoking restaurant and bar employees of businesses that permit smoking or have designated smoking sections. They were compared to 50 non-smoking government workers in smoke-free workplaces.
The researchers collected saliva samples at the start and end of the working day. They measured changes in salivary cotinine levels, which reflect the amount of nicotine absorbed by the body.
The employees exposed to smoke had significantly greater increases in their salivary cotinine by the end of the working day, compared to those who worked in a smoke-free setting.
Workers in premises with unrestricted smoking also reported higher prevalence of respiratory and irritation symptoms than those in smoke-free workplaces, the study says.