Smoke-free Locations May Not Be Entirely Smokeless, Study Findsadmin
While the dangers of second-hand smoke have been shouted from the rooftops by scientists for years, a group of researchers from Yale University warn that someone doesn’t necessarily have to be lighting up beside you for you to be exposed.
Dr. Drew Genter and his colleagues measured the concentrations of tobacco-related volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in a non-smoking movie theater as both smoking and non-smoking patrons came and went over four consecutive days. What they found was rather disturbing.
“These VOC emission events exposed occupants to the equivalent of 1-10 cigarettes of secondhand smoke, including multiple hazardous air pollutants (eg. benzene and formaldehyde) at parts-per-billion concentrations,” they reported in Science Advances. Even worse – this movie theater had been smoke-free for 15 years, and was large and well-ventilated, meaning that conditions could be considerably worse in smaller spaces or those that had put smoking bans into effect at later dates.
But what can be done about this? While acknowledging this exposure is one thing, making any changes to address it, without running into any civil liberty concerns or enforcement issues, is another.