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Secondhand smoke levels in public building main entrances: outdoor and indoor PM2.5 assessment
  1. Xisca Sureda1,2,3,
  2. Jose M Martínez-Sánchez1,2,3,
  3. María José López4,5,
  4. Marcela Fu1,2,3,
  5. Fernando Agüero4,6,
  6. Esteve Saltó7,8,
  7. Manel Nebot4,5,9,
  8. Esteve Fernández1,2,3
  1. 1Tobacco Control Unit, Cancer Prevention and Control Programme, Institut Català d'Oncologia—ICO, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2Cancer Prevention and Control Group, Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge—IDIBELL, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
  3. 3Department of Clinical Sciences, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  4. 4Agència de Salut Pública de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  5. 5CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública, Barcelona, Spain
  6. 6Unitat Docent de Medicina Preventiva i Salut Pública IMAS-UPF-ASPB, Barcelona, Spain
  7. 7Department of Health, Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
  8. 8Department of Public Health, School of Pharmacy, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  9. 9Department of Experimental Sciences and Health, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Esteve Fernández, Tobacco Control Research Unit, Institut Català d'Oncologia, Av. Gran Via de l'Hospitalet, 199-203, 08908 L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain; efernandez{at}


Background/Objectives To describe secondhand smoke (SHS) levels in halls and main entrances (outdoors) in different buildings by measurement of PM2.5 and airborne nicotine.

Methods Cross-sectional study in a sample of 47 public buildings. The authors studied SHS levels derived from PM2.5 (micrograms per cubic metre) using TSI SidePak Personal Aerosol Monitors. The authors tested four locations within buildings: hall, main entrance (outdoor), control (indoor) and control (outdoor). The authors also measured airborne nicotine concentration (micrograms per cubic metre) in main entrances (outdoor). The authors computed medians and IQRs to describe the data. Spearman correlation coefficient (rsp) was used to explore the association between PM2.5 concentrations simultaneously measured in halls and main entrances as well as between PM2.5 and nicotine concentrations.

Results The authors obtained an overall median PM2.5 concentration of hall 18.20 μg/m3 (IQR: 10.92–23.92 μg/m3), main entrance (outdoor) 17.16 μg/m3 (IQR: 10.92–24.96 μg/m3), control (indoor) 10.40 μg/m3 (IQR: 6.76–15.60 μg/m3) and control (outdoor) 13.00 μg/m3 (IQR: 8.32–18.72 μg/m3). The PM2.5 concentration in halls was more correlated with concentration in the main entrances (outdoors) (rsp=0.518, 95% CI 0.271 to 0.701) than with the control indoor (rsp=0.316, 95% CI 0.032 to 0.553). The Spearman correlation coefficient between nicotine and PM2.5 concentration was 0.365 (95% CI −0.009 to 0.650).

Conclusions Indoor locations where smoking is banned are not completely free from SHS with levels similar to those obtained in the immediate entrances (outdoors) where smoking is allowed, indicating that SHS from outdoors settings drifts to adjacent indoors. These results warrant a revision of current smoke-free policies in particular outdoor settings.

  • Secondhand smoke
  • particulate matter
  • tobacco smoke pollution
  • outdoor tobacco smoke
  • airborne nicotine
  • prevention
  • public policy
  • environment
  • surveillance and monitoring
  • primary healthcare
  • environmental tobacco smoke
  • smoking-caused disease
  • prevalence
  • cessation

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  • Funding This study is partly funded by the Ministry of Science and Universities, Government of Catalonia (2009SGR192), and by Ministry of Health, Government of Spain (RTIC Cancer, RD06/0020/0089 and CIBERESP CB06/02/0032).

  • Competing interests None.

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