The secondhand tobacco smoke exposure contributes to diseases including heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke. Implementation of smoke-free laws has reduced SHS exposure. One in five nonsmoking workers report exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke at work.
The researchers finding that 19.9% of nonsmoking workers reporting any exposure to SHS at work in the previous 12 months; this included 10.1% reporting frequent exposure. In states with comprehensive smoke-free laws in all three categories of venues (private worksites, bars, and restaurants), nonsmokers workers were least likely to report frequent exposure to workplace SHS.
But the study finding that the highest prevalences of workplace SHS exposure (65.1 percent) were reported by nonsmoking workers employed in the commercial and industrial machinery and equipment repair and maintenance industry.
But the implementation of smoke-free laws has proven to be beneficial in reducing SHS exposure in general. CDC analyzed data from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey Occupational Health Supplement to assess the prevalence of self-reporting workplace SHS exposure among nonsmoking workers by smoke-free policy status in the workers’ states of residence and in detailed industry categories and subcategories.
Nonsmoking workers residing in states with comprehensive smoke-free laws reported significantly lower prevalences of frequent exposure to workplace SHS. Moreover, SHS exposure among nonsmoking workers also significantly varied by industry.
Implementation of smoke-free
During 2013–2014, one in four U.S. nonsmokers reporting exposure to SHS; and an estimating 41,000 deaths among nonsmoking adults were associating with SHS exposure. Enhanced and sustained efforts to protect nonsmoking workers through comprehensive smoke-free laws and implementation of smoke-free workplace policies by employers can benefit public health.
However, workplace SHS exposure is harmful for workers’ health. In this study, nonsmoking workers residing in states without comprehensive smoke-free laws; and those employed in certain industries were more likely to be frequently exposed to workplace SHS. NIOSH encourages employers, especially those in industries with high prevalences of SHS exposure, to implement workplace specific smoke-free policies.