Study: Smoking ban cut air pollution by 99%
Three months after their smoking bans took effect, Hennepin County had far cleaner air inside its restaurants and bars than did Ramsey County, according to a study commissioned by the Minnesota Partnership for Action Against Tobacco.
No surprise: Researchers found in Hennepin County that the level of indoor pollutants linked to smoking dropped by 99 percent at a sampling of 10 restaurants and bars. The tests measured tiny airborne particles, found in secondhand smoke, that contribute to respiratory and other health problems.
Exceeds standards: In Ramsey County, which adopted less restrictive rules, the overall levels dropped only 30 percent in a sampling of 11 restaurants and bars, seven of which still permit smoking. The levels still exceeded a standard set by the Environmental Pollution Agency for indoor pollution.
"They're still more polluted than a typical bus depot," said Barbara Schillo, director of research programs for MPAAT, a nonprofit endowed under the 1998 state tobacco litigation settlement.
Details: The study cost $70,000. Researchers used portable equipment to test air before the smoking rules took effect March 31, and again in June.