Background: The English Public Health White Paper proposes introducing smoke-free workplaces except in pubs and bars that do not prepare and serve food. The bar area will be non-smoking in exempted pubs. Objective: To explore the likely impact of these proposals in UK pubs and bars. Methods: A total of 59 pubs and bars within Greater Manchester in 2001 were chosen. Thirteen were mechanically ventilated, 12 were naturally ventilated and 34 had extractor fans; 23 provided non-smoking areas. We measured time-weighted average concentrations of respirable suspended particles (RSP), solanesol tobacco-specific particles and vapour-phase nicotine (VPN) over a 4-h sampling period on a Tuesday or Saturday night. Results: Second-hand smoke (SHS) levels in smoking areas were high (mean RSP 114.5 µg/m³, VPN 88.2 µg/m³, solanesol 101.7 µg/m³). There were only small (5–13 per cent) reductions in bar areas. Mean levels were lower in non-smoking areas: by 33 per cent for RSPs, 52 per cent for solanesol particles and 69 per cent for VPN. Compared with other settings (homes and other workplaces) with unrestricted smoking, mean SHS levels were high throughout all areas of the pubs regardless of ventilation strategy. Conclusion: Partial measures, like those in the English Public Health White Paper, will leave bar staff in exempted pubs unprotected from the occupational hazard of SHS.
Journal of Public Health Vol. 28, Issue 1, p. 17 - 23