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ASHRAE Standard 62: tobacco industry’s influence over national ventilation standards
  1. S Aguinaga Bialous,
  2. S A Glantz
  1. Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, Cardiovascular Research Institute, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor Stanton A Glantz, PhD, Box 0103, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0130, USA;


Objective: To describe the role of the tobacco industry in the development of ventilation standards for indoor air quality by influencing the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Methods: Review of tobacco industry documents available on the internet between January 2001 and March 2002. Search terms included “ASHRAE”, “ventilation”, “minutes”, “memo”, and the names of key players and organisations as identified in the initial searches. Analysis of ASHRAE and other relevant documents publicly available and the personal files of a Standard 62 committee member; interviews of a selected number of ASHRAE players; observation of an ASHRAE meeting.

Results: The tobacco industry has been involved in the development of ventilation standards for over 20 years. It has successfully influenced the standard and continues to attempt to change the standard from a smoke-free framework into an “accommodation” framework. The industry acts directly and through consultants and allies. The major health groups have been largely absent and the health interests have been poorly represented in standard development. While concentrated in the USA, ASHRAE standards are adopted worldwide.

Conclusion: The tobacco industry determined that allowing smoking in ventilation standards for indoor air quality was a high priority and dedicated significant human and financial resources to ensure that its interests were represented. The health groups, until recently, have largely ignored the policy implications for tobacco control of standard development. This situation is changing, but unless health groups maintain high visibility within ASHRAE, the tobacco industry may succeed in creating a standard that ignores the dangers of secondhand smoke.

  • ventilation
  • indoor air quality
  • standards
  • tobacco industry
  • secondhand smoke
  • ANSI, American National Standards Institute
  • ASHRAE; American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers
  • BCIA, Business Council on Indoor Air
  • BOCA, Building and Official Code Administrators
  • BSR, board of standards review
  • EPA, Environmental Protection Agency
  • ETS, environmental tobacco smoke
  • GASP, Massachusetts Group Against Smoking Pollution
  • IAQ, indoor air quality
  • ISO, International Organization for Standardization
  • NRA, National Restaurant Association
  • OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • PM, Philip Morris
  • SHS, secondhand smoke
  • SPC, standard project committee
  • SSPC, standing standard project committee
  • TC, technical committee

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