Tob Control 19:469-474 doi:10.1136/tc.2009.035402
  • Research paper

Secondhand tobacco smoke in bars and restaurants in Santiago, Chile: evaluation of partial smoking ban legislation in public places

Open Access
  1. Ana Navas-Acien6
  1. 1Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, Chile
  2. 2School of Public Health, University of Chile, Chile
  3. 3Laboratory of Occupational Health, Institute of Public Health, Chile
  4. 4Tobacco Control Unit, Ministry of Health, Chile
  5. 5National Capacity Building Unit, Tobacco Control Program, World Health Organization
  6. 6Departments of Environmental Health Sciences and Epidemiology, and Institute for Global Tobacco Control, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Marcia Erazo B, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, Independencia 1027, Santiago, Chile; merazo{at}
  • Received 14 December 2009
  • Accepted 13 May 2010
  • Published Online First 25 August 2010


Objective To compare air nicotine concentrations according to the smoking policy selected by bars/restaurants in Santiago, Chile before and after the enactment of partial smoking ban legislation in 2007 (establishments could be smoke free, have segregated (mixed) smoking and non-smoking areas, or allow smoking in all areas).

Methods The study measured air nicotine concentrations over 7 days to characterise secondhand smoke exposure in 30 bars/restaurants in 2008. Owner/manager interviews and physical inspections were conducted.

Results Median IQR air nicotine concentrations measured in all venues were 4.38 (0.61–13.62) μg/m3. Air nicotine concentrations were higher in bars (median 7.22, IQR 2.48–15.64 μg/m3) compared to restaurants (1.12, 0.15–9.22 μg/m3). By smoking status, nicotine concentrations were higher in smoking venues (13.46, 5.31–16.87 μg/m3), followed by smoking areas in mixed venues (9.22, 5.09–14.90 μg/m3) and non-smoking areas in mixed venues (0.99, 0.19–1.27 μg/m3). Air nicotine concentrations were markedly lower in smoke-free venues (0.12, 0.11–0.46 μg/m3). After adjustment for differences in volume and ventilation, air nicotine concentrations were 3.2, 35.5 and 56.2 times higher in non-smoking areas in mixed venues, smoking areas in mixed venues and smoking venues, respectively, compared to smoke-free venues.

Conclusions Exposure to secondhand smoke remains high in bars and restaurants in Santiago, Chile. These findings demonstrate that the partial smoking ban legislation enacted in Chile in 2007 provides no protection to employees working in those venues. Enacting a comprehensive smoke-free legislation which protects all people from exposure to secondhand smoke in all public places and workplaces is urgently needed.


  • Funding This study was supported by a US National Institutes of Health Fogarty Grant (number: D43 TW 05746-02) and a Clinical Investigator Award from the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and

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