Tob Control 16:312-317 doi:10.1136/tc.2006.019646
  • Research paper

Exposure to fine and ultrafine particles from secondhand smoke in public places before and after the smoking ban, Italy 2005

  1. Pasquale Valente1,
  2. Francesco Forastiere2,
  3. Antonella Bacosi3,
  4. Giorgio Cattani3,
  5. Simonetta Di Carlo3,
  6. Monica Ferri2,
  7. Irene Figà-Talamanca1,
  8. Achille Marconi3,
  9. Luigi Paoletti3,
  10. Carlo Perucci2,
  11. Piergiorgio Zuccaro3
  1. 1University of Rome “La Sapienza”, 5 Ple Aldo Moro, 00185 Rome, Italy
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology ASL Roma E, Rome, Italy
  3. 3Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena, 299, 00161 Rome, Italy
  1. Correspondence to:
 Pasquale Valente
 Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Dipartimento Tecnologie e Salute, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00168 Roma; pasquale.valente{at}
  • Received 14 December 2006
  • Accepted 4 May 2007


Background: A smoking ban in all indoor public places was enforced in Italy on 10 January 2005.

Methods: We compared indoor air quality before and after the smoking ban by monitoring the indoor concentrations of fine (<2.5 μm diameter, PM2.5) and ultrafine particulate matter (<0.1 μm diameter, UFP). PM2.5 and ultrafine particles were measured in 40 public places (14 bars, six fast food restaurants, eight restaurants, six game rooms, six pubs) in Rome, before and after the introduction of the law banning smoking (after 3 and 12 months). Measurements were taken using real time particle monitors (DustTRAK Mod. 8520 TSI; Ultra-fine Particles Counter-TRAK Model 8525 TSI). The PM2.5 data were scaled using a correction equation derived from a comparison with the reference method (gravimetric measurement). The study was completed by measuring urinary cotinine, and pre-law and post-law enforcement among non-smoking employees at these establishments

Results: In the post-law period, PM2.5 decreased significantly from a mean concentration of 119.3 μg/m3 to 38.2 μg/m3 after 3 months (p<0.005), and then to 43.3 μg/m3 a year later (p<0.01). The UFP concentrations also decreased significantly from 76 956 particles/cm3 to 38 079 particles/cm3 (p<0.0001) and then to 51 692 particles/cm3 (p<0.01). Similarly, the concentration of urinary cotinine among non-smoking workers decreased from 17.8 ng/ml to 5.5 ng/ml (p<0.0001) and then to 3.7 ng/ml (p<0.0001).

Conclusion: The application of the smoking ban led to a considerable reduction in the exposure to indoor fine and ultrafine particles in hospitality venues, confirmed by a contemporaneous reduction of urinary cotinine.


  • The study was approved by ethics committee of Istituto Superiore di Sanità.

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