Objective: To compare tobacco smoke-derived particulate levels in transportation and hospitality venues with and without smoking in 32 countries using a standardized measurement protocol.
Methods: The TSI Sidepak AM510 Personal Aerosol Monitor was used to measure the concentration of particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) in 1,822 bars, restaurants, retail outlets, airports, and other workplaces in 32 geographically dispersed countries between 2003 and 2007.
Results: Geometric mean PM2.5 levels were highest in Syria (372 µg/m3), Romania (366 µg/m3), and Lebanon (346 µg/m3), while they were lowest in the three countries that have nationwide laws prohibiting smoking in indoor public places (Ireland at 22 µg/m3, Uruguay at 18 µg/m3, and New Zealand at 8 µg/m3). On average, the PM2.5 level in places where smoking was observed was 8.9 times greater (95% C.I.: 8.0 to 10) than the level in places where smoking was not observed.
Conclusions: Levels of indoor fine particle air pollution in places with observed smoking are typically greater what than what the World Health Organization and US Environmental Protection Agency have concluded is harmful to human health.
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