Illegal Passive Smoking at Work

Lesage, François-Xavier; Deschamps, Frédéric; Jurca, Denisa
January 2011
Advances in Preventive Medicine;2011, Vol. 2011, p1
Academic Journal
Introduction. Exposure to passive smoking at work has been forbidden for few years in France. This study's aim is to estimate the prevalence of passive smoking at work (PSW), the characteristics of illegal passive smoking and to identify eventual respiratory effects. Methods. Occupational practitioners (OPs) of a French county of 320,000 wage earners were contacted by mail. Then OP answered questions from a standardized questionnaire. These questions concerned the practised job, exposure features linked to PSW and health effects in relationship with second-hand smoke in workplace, and the focus on nonsmoker encountered by OP during the most recent occupational medical examination. Results. Ninety-five percent of a total group of 172 OP of Champagne county filled the postal questionnaire. More than 80% of OP's replies identified illegal PSW. The average prevalence of PSW exposure was 0.7% of the total working population. Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) levels were considered between low and medium for most passive smokers (71%). Main features exposure to ETS at work for non-smokers was associated with female gender (69.5%), age between 40 and 49 years (41.2%) and belonging to tertiary sector (75.6%). Environmental tobacco smoke exposures at work was firstly in the office for 49.7% of the subjects and secondly in the restroom for 18% of them. Main medical symptoms encountered by non-smokers were respiratory tractus irritation (81.7%). Eighty-three percent of OPs indicated solution to eradicate PSW. Illegal PSW is really weaker than fifteen years ago. However, the findings support a real ban on smoking in the workplace in order to protect all workers.


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