New York Smoke-Free Law Having Intended Effect

The New York Clean Indoor Air Act
gets a grip on secondhand smoke
© Picture Disk

The findings, published in the August issue of the international journal Tobacco Control, indicate that an amendment to the New York Clean Indoor Air Act that went into effect July 24, 2003, had its intended effect of protecting hospitality workers from exposure to secondhand smoke within three months of implementation.

The amendment prohibited smoking in virtually all places of employment, including restaurants, bars, bingo and bowling facilities. The study also found that one year after implementation compliance with the law continued to increase.

"These findings indicate that restrictions such as the anti-smoking provision of the New York Clean Indoor Air Act are effective tools for governments to protect hospitality workers within their constituencies," said Matthew Farrelly, Ph.D., the study's principal investigator. "The results clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of smoke-free laws in preventing employee exposure to secondhand smoke."

The study combined data from telephone interviews with saliva specimens from study participants who were non-smoking employees of restaurants, bars and bowling facilities in areas of New York not covered by local smoke-free workplace laws. They were recruited through newspaper ads, flyers and radio announcements.

Twelve months after the smoke-free law was passed, exposure to secondhand smoke at work had declined to 14 percent from 91 percent before the law went into effect. The data indicate that the majority of this change occurred in the first three months. Similarly, values of cotinine, an indicator of exposure to nicotine, found in saliva decreased significantly at the three-month follow up.

"In light of the health effects of chronic exposure to secondhand smoke, such as increased risk of lung cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke, these findings have important implications for public health and the associated costs of smoking," Farrelly said.; Source: Tobacco Control