Tests on bar staff measure smoking impact
Bar staff in Northern Ireland are taking part in tests designed to measure the effects of passive smoking.
Using peak flow meters and other checks on breathing and lung capacity, researchers aim to test the impact of working a shift in both smoky and smoke-free bars.
The tests mirror similar studies being carried out on barmen in the Irish Republic before and after the workplace smoking ban.
Brendan Bonner, Investing For Health manager based at the Western Health and Social Services Board, said the first batch of tests had been carried out on 40 workers.
Initial indications suggest a 'significant' reduction in lung capacity after a shift in a smoke-filled pub atmosphere.
He added that if a second series of tests in the autumn showed an improvement in the health of bar workers in the Republic, compared to static or worsening health in Northern Ireland, the results could influence moves to extend the workplace ban north of the border.