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Smoking Ban

October 25, 2006

Although smoking bans are controversial, new evidence of the benefit to bar workers is strong.


Smoking ban benefits. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

One of the arguments for banning smoking in bars is that it protects bar workers. Now new research from Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Scotland shows just how dramatic a difference it makes. Pulmonologist Brian Lipworth and his colleagues found that within two months of a smoking ban, the percentage of nonsmoking bar workers with symptoms such as coughing and red eyes dropped from nearly 80 percent to below 50 percent. Volunteers also improved on lung and blood tests.

BRIAN LIPWORTH (Ninewells Hospital and Medical School):
I would say the results are unequivocal. If you can see these changes that early—after a month or two months—then that has to be important to people who are being exposed to second-hand smoke.

Not surprisingly, bar workers with asthma improved the most. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.