Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Workplace secondhand smoke exposure: a lingering hazard for young adults in California
  1. Louisa M Holmes,
  2. Pamela M Ling
  1. Center for Tobacco Control Research & Education, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Louisa M Holmes, Center for Tobacco Control Research & Education, 530 Parnassus Avenue, Suite 366, San Francisco, CA 94143-1390, USA; louisa.holmes{at}


Objective To examine occupational differences in workplace exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) among young adults in California.

Methods Data are taken from the 2014 Bay Area Young Adult Health Survey, a probabilistic multimode cross-sectional household survey of young adults, aged 18–26, in Alameda and San Francisco Counties. Respondents were asked whether they had been exposed to SHS ‘indoors’ or ‘outdoors’ at their workplace in the previous 7 days and also reported their current employment status, industry and occupation. Sociodemographic characteristics and measures of health perception and behaviour were included in the final model.

Results Young adults employed in service (p<0.001), construction and maintenance (p<0.01), and transportation and material moving (p<0.05) sectors were more likely to report workplace SHS exposure while those reporting very good or excellent self-rated health were less likely (p<0.001).

Conclusions Despite California's clean indoor air policy, 33% of young adults in the San Francisco Bay Area still reported workplace SHS exposure in the past week, with those in lower income occupations and working in non-office environments experiencing the greatest exposure. Closing the gaps that exempt certain types of workplaces from the Smoke-Free Workplace Act may be especially beneficial for young adults.

  • Disparities
  • Environment
  • Public policy
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Secondhand smoke

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors LMH conceptualised and designed the study, supervised data collection, conducted the analysis, and drafted and approved the final manuscript as submitted. PML supervised the overall study, obtained funding, and contributed to critical review and revision of the manuscript as submitted.

  • Funding This study was supported by the National Cancer Institute (U01-154240) and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (P60 MD006902). The funding agencies had no role in study design; collection, analysis and interpretation of data; writing the report; or the decision to submit the report for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The 2014 Bay Area Young Adult Health Survey was reviewed and approved by UCSF's Committee on Human Research and San Diego State University's Institutional Review Board.

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