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Study of changes in air quality

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Study of changes in air quality

A study undertaken by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Cymru Wales on the effects of the smoke-free legislation on indoor air quality.

A study undertaken by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Cymru Wales.

Researcher

Nicola Pearce

Study Aims

To carry out research on the effects of the introduction of the ban on smoking in enclosed public places on indoor air quality.  The research sought to identify exposure levels to secondhand smoke in a typical town across a range of hospitality and other settings before and after the introduction of the ban, by taking  measurements of accepted ‘markers’ of secondhand smoke, being airborne particulates and airborne nicotine.  

The purpose of the research was to:

  • identify levels of exposure to secondhand smoke before and after the smoking ban in high risk settings such as bars and restaurants, measuring levels of airborne particulates, and
  • illustrate reductions in exposure and risk for workers and to show to what extent the ban is working by measuring levels of airborne nicotine.

Study Design

The town of Cwmbran was selected for sampling, which included two aspects. The air particulate monitoring, which could be carried out covertly and did not require the cooperation of the premises owner, was carried out first in each of the samples.  The airborne nicotine sampling, which was carried out over a longer time period and did require cooperation from the premises owner, was carried out approximately one month later.  

The research was split into two phases.  Phase 1 took place during February and March 2007, prior to the introduction of the ban in April 2007.   Phase 2 was a repeat of the monitoring which took place in phase 1 and was carried out during February and March 2008.

Main Outcomes

The study found that air quality has improved significantly since the introduction of smoke-free legislation, particularly in hospitality settings, with particulate levels falling by an average of 77 per cent.