New research shows need for action on secondhand smoke

Tuesday 24 February 2004



Embargo: 00:01 hours, Tuesday 24th February 2004




Important new research published today in the journal Tobacco Control shows the urgent need for action on secondhand smoke.


The paper, based on research in the hospitality industry in Sydney Australia, shows that designated “no-smoking” areas in the hospitality industry provide at best partial protection and at worst no protection at all against the damaging effects of secondhand smoke [1].


Secondhand smoke has been designated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a group 1 carcinogen – that is, it causes cancer in humans. It is also associated with a variety of other illnesses including sudden infant death syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. The paper concludes that “provision of designated no-smoking areas … provides at best partial protection … typically about a 50% reduction in exposure. The protection afforded is less than users might reasonably have understood and is not comparable with protection afforded by prohibiting smoking on the premises.”


Deborah Arnott, Director of Action on Smoking and Health, commented:


“This important new research confirms that ‘no-smoking’ areas in the hospitality trade just don’t work. They don’t properly protect the public – because smoke drifts. And they don’t protect employees at all – because they still have to work in areas where smoking is allowed.


The scientific evidence is now clear. We need clear legislation which prevents smoking in the workplace and in enclosed public places. The time for excuses and half measures is gone.”




–          ENDS –


Notes and links

[1]   Cains, T et al.  Designated “no smoking” areas provide from partial to no protection from environmental tobacco smoke.  Tobacco Control  2004; 13: 17-22.



Contact:                        Ian Willmore (ASH)            020 7739 5902 (w)