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The impact of a 100% smoke-free law on the health of hospitality workers from the city of Neuquén, Argentina
  1. Veronica Schoj1,
  2. Mariela Alderete1,
  3. Ernesto Ruiz2,
  4. Santiago Hasdeu3,
  5. Bruno Linetzky4,
  6. Daniel Ferrante5
  1. 1GRANTAHI (Programa de Control de Tabaco) y Servicio de Medicina Familiar, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  2. 2Hospital Provincial de Neuquén ‘Dr. E. Castro Rendón’, Neuquén, Argentina
  3. 3Hospital Centenario ‘Dr. Natalio Burd’, Neuquén, Argentina
  4. 4Ministerio de Salud de la Nación, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  5. 5Fundación GESICA y Ministerio de Salud de la Nación, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  1. Correspondence to Veronica Schoj, GRANTAHI (Programa de Control de Tabaco) y Servicio de Medicina Familiar, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina; vschoj{at}


Objectives The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of 100% smoke-free environment legislation on respiratory and sensory irritation symptoms and respiratory function among bar and restaurant workers from the city of Neuquén, Argentina.

Methods Pre-ban and post-ban studies without a comparison group in an Argentinean city were conducted. A baseline survey and spirometric measurements were performed with a total of 80 bar and restaurant workers 1 month before (October 2007) and 3 months after (March 2008) the implementation of the new 100% smoke-free legislation.

Results A significant reduction in secondhand smoke exposure was observed after the enactment and enforcement of the new legislation, and an important reduction in respiratory symptoms (from a pre-ban level of 57.5% to a post-ban level of only 28.8%). The reduction of sensory irritation symptoms was even higher. From 86.3% of workers who reported at least one sensory irritation symptom in October 2007, only 37.5% reported the same symptoms in March 2008. Also, data obtained by spirometry showed a significant forced vital capacity increase.

Conclusions Consistent with other studies, 100% smoke-free legislation improved short-term health outcomes in the sample and should be implemented nationwide. Furthermore, undertaking this study has been highly important in promoting 100% smoke-free environment legislation at the workplace as a legitimate right of hospitality workers, and in reducing social acceptance of designated smoking areas in bars and restaurants.

  • Secondhand smoke
  • smoke-free legislation
  • hospitality workers
  • respiratory health
  • impact evaluation
  • environmental tobacco smoke
  • public policy

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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  • Funding M Bloomberg Foundation.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires and Hospital Provincial de Neuquén's ethical committees.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

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