Secondhand Smoke Concerns Grow for Outdoor Smoking Areas

ATHENS, Ga., Nov. 19 (UPI) — Indoor smoking bans resulted in outdoor smoking areas but they may be creating a new health hazard, U.S. researchers suggest.

“Indoor smoking bans have helped to create more of these outdoor environments where people are exposed to secondhand smoke,” study co-author Luke Naeher, associate professor in the University of Georgia College of Public Health, says in a statement. “We know from our previous study that there are measurable airborne levels of secondhand smoke in these environments, and we know from this study that we can measure internal exposure.”

Naeher and colleagues recruited 20 non-smoking adults and placed them in outside bars, outside restaurants and, for the control group, outside the main library at University of Georgia. The county enacted an indoor smoking ban in 2005.

The team found an average increase of 162 percent in cotinine — a metabolite of nicotine — for the volunteers stationed at outdoor seating and standing areas at bars. There was a 102 percent increase for those outside of restaurants and a 16 percent increase for the control group near the library.

The study is published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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