Exposure to secondhand smoke in Germany: air contamination due to smoking in German restaurants, bars, and other venues.Nicotine Tob Res. 2008 Mar; 10(3):547-55.NT
This study quantified exposure to secondhand smoke in German restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues by determining the concentration of respirable suspended particles measuring 2.5 microm or less (PM2.5) in indoor air. The measurements were taken using an inconspicuous device placed on the investigator's table in the venue. The concentration of particulate matter in the indoor air was measured for a minimum of 30 min. A total of 39 restaurants, 20 coffee bars, 12 bars, 9 discothèques, and 20 restaurant cars in trains were visited throughout Germany from September 30 to October 31, 2005. The readings disclosed a median PM2.5 of 260 microg/m3 and an arithmetic mean PM2.5 of 333 microg/m3. Median values were 378 microg/m3 in bars, 131 microg/m3 in cafes, and 173 microg/m3 in restaurants. The highest medians were measured in discothèques and restaurant cars, with values averaging 432 microg/m3 and 525 microg/m3 PM2.5, respectively. This study was the first to show the magnitude and extent of exposure to secondhand smoke on such an extensive scale in Germany. The contaminated air due to smoking is a human carcinogenic and major health hazard, which would be prevented most effectively and completely by implementing a ban on smoking. This study is important for the ongoing national debate in Germany as well as for debates in all countries without smoke-free air legislation, which includes most countries around the world.