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Indoor air pollution (PM2.5) due to secondhand smoke in selected hospitality and entertainment venues of Karachi, Pakistan
  1. Asaad Ahmed Nafees1,
  2. Tahir Taj1,
  3. Muhammad Masood Kadir1,
  4. Zafar Fatmi1,
  5. Kiyoung Lee2,
  6. Nalini Sathiakumar3
  1. 1Department of Community Health Sciences, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan
  2. 2Department of Environmental Health, Graduate School of Public Health and Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  3. 3Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Asaad Ahmed Nafees, Department of Community Health Sciences, Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, PO Box 3500, Karachi 74800, Pakistan; asaad.nafees{at}


Objective To determine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) levels at various hospitality and entertainment venues of Karachi, Pakistan.

Methods This was a descriptive cross-sectional study conducted at various locations in Karachi, during July 2009. Sampling was performed at 20 enclosed public places, including hospitality (restaurants and cafés) and entertainment (snooker/billiard clubs and gaming zones) venues. PM2.5 levels were measured using an aerosol monitor.

Results All entertainment venues had higher indoor PM2.5 levels as compared to the immediate outdoors. The indoor PM2.5 levels ranged from 25 to 390 μg/m3 and the outdoor PM2.5 levels ranged from 18 to 96 μg/m3. The overall mean indoor PM2.5 level was 138.8 μg/m3 (±112.8). Among the four types of venues, the highest mean indoor PM2.5 level was reported from snooker/billiard clubs: 264.7 μg/m3 (±85.4) and the lowest from restaurants: 66.4 μg/m3 (±57.6) while the indoor/outdoor ratio ranged from 0.97 to 10.2, highest being at the snooker/billiard clubs. The smoking density ranged from 0.21 to 0.57, highest being at gaming zones. The indoor PM2.5 concentration and smoking density were not significantly correlated (Spearman's correlation coefficient=0.113; p=0.636).

Conclusions This study demonstrates unacceptably high levels of PM2.5 exposure associated with secondhand smoke (SHS) at various entertainment venues of Karachi even after 8 years since the promulgation of smoke-free ordinance (2002) in Pakistan; however, better compliance may be evident at hospitality venues. The results of this study call for effective implementation and enforcement of smoke-free environment at public places in the country.

  • Particulate matter (PM2.5)
  • hospitality and entertainment venues
  • secondhand smoke
  • Karachi
  • Pakistan
  • environment
  • environmental tobacco smoke
  • public policy
  • surveillance and monitoring
  • taxation and price

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  • Funding International Training and Research in Environmental and Occupational Health (ITREOH) programme, grant number 5D43TW05750, of the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health and NASA. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the UAB, Fogarty International Center, or the National Institutes of Health.

  • Competing interests None.

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