Home > Greater gains from smoke-free legislation for non-smoking bar staff in Belfast.

Bannon, Finian and Devlin, Anne and McElwee, Gerry and Gavin, Anna (2009) Greater gains from smoke-free legislation for non-smoking bar staff in Belfast. European Journal of Public Health, 19, (6), pp. 638-643. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckp087.

External website: https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article/19/6/638/5...

In April 2007, smoke-free legislation was enacted in workplaces throughout N. Ireland. The effects of this legislation on bar workers' health and their exposure to second-hand smoke at home, work and social environment, and their attitudes to the legislation before and after its implementation remain to be documented.

A self-completed questionnaire of bar staff in 35 Belfast bars, before (March 2007, n = 110) and after the legislation (July 2007, n = 110).

Smokers (excluding 'social smokers') made up 41.6% of respondents. After the introduction of the smoke-free legislation, the reductions in the proportion of bar workers reporting various respiratory symptoms ranged from 1.3% to 18.6% for smokers and from 21.9% to 33.2% for non-smokers. Likewise, the reductions for various sensory symptoms ranged from 7.3% to 17.7% for smokers and from 29.6% to 46.8% for non-smokers. Reduction in wheeze, cough and throat symptoms after the legislation were much greater for non-smokers than smokers. The proportion of bar staff who reported satisfaction with the legislation remained unchanged across the surveys. Decreases in perceived exposure to second-hand smoke occurred at work, home and in social settings. After the legislation's enactment, a majority of bar workers felt the workplace was healthier (98%).

These first findings show reduced reported symptoms among bar workers, both smokers and non-smokers, after the introduction of smoke-free legislation in N. Ireland, though greater among non-smokers. There was also a reported fall in the hours of second-hand smoke exposure in the home for this group of workers which has a high prevalence of smokers.

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