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Secondhand tobacco smoke in bars and restaurants in Santiago, Chile: evaluation of partial smoking ban legislation in public places
  1. Marcia Erazo1,
  2. Veronica Iglesias2,
  3. Andrea Droppelmann3,
  4. Marisol Acuña4,
  5. Armando Peruga5,
  6. Patrick N Breysse6,
  7. 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}


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.

  • Vapour-phase nicotine
  • bars
  • restaurants
  • smoking ban
  • evaluation
  • environmental tobacco smoke
  • public policy

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  • 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.