Tob Control 15:242-246 doi:10.1136/tc.2005.015479
  • Research paper

Decline in respiratory symptoms in service workers five months after a public smoking ban

  1. T M L Eagan1,
  2. J Hetland2,
  3. L E Aarø2
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
  2. 2Research Centre for Health Promotion, University of Bergen, Norway
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Tomas Eagan
 Department of Internal Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, Jonas Lies vei 65, 5021 Bergen, Norway; tomas.eagan{at}
  • Received 13 December 2005
  • Accepted 20 March 2006


Objective: To evaluate the effect of a total ban on smoking indoors in restaurants and other hospitality business premises in Norway, on respiratory symptoms among workers in the industry.

Methods: Phone interviews with 1525 employees in the hospitality business were conducted immediately before the enacting of the law. In a follow-up study five months later, 906 of the workers from the baseline sample participated. Questions were asked on demographic variables, passive smoking exposure, personal smoking, attitudes towards the law, and five respiratory symptoms. Change in symptom prevalence was analysed with McNemar’s test and with analysis of variance (ANOVA) for repeated measures.

Results: The prevalence of all five symptoms declined after the ban; for morning cough from 20.6% to 16.2% (p < 0.01); for daytime cough from 23.2% to 20.9%; for phlegm cough from 15.3% to 11.8% (p < 0.05); for dyspnoea from 19.2% to 13.0% (p < 0.01); and for wheezing from 9.0% to 7.8%. ANOVA showed that the largest decline in symptom prevalence was seen among workers who themselves gave up smoking, and subjects with a positive attitude towards the law before it took effect.

Conclusion: A significant decrease in respiratory symptoms among service industry workers was found five months after the enacting of a public smoking ban.


  • Competing interest: none declared

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