In an editorial on the research in the same issue of the journal, Fiona Godfrey, B.A., L.L.M. (Master of Laws), European Union Policy Advisor at the European Respiratory Society in Brussels, wrote:
"The article by Drs. Clancy and colleagues adds to the evidence from other studies that what smoke-free advocates have said all along is true: Comprehensive smoking bans in bars dramatically reduce the levels of fine-particulate matter, chemicals and gases in the air and improve bar workers' health."
If all European countries were to adopt a similar policy, she estimates that between 5 to 10 million premature deaths from smoking could be prevented over the next generation.
Although Dr. Godfrey admits that the impact of the Irish ban has been "enormous," she also highlights several "important caveat[s]" to the study's findings.
While the health of ex- and non-smoking barmen improved significantly, the respiratory health of smokers continued to decline, with the exception of irritant sensitivity.
"Given the known health effects of secondhand smoke exposure and the reported reduction in mean exposure from 40.5 hours pre-ban to 0.42 hours post-ban, this is a disappointing finding, especially since the reported exposure outside the workplace also decreased by 42 percent," she said.
She also noted that because the study relied on volunteers, it only involved men. Given the lack of sex-specific studies on women and occupational disease and evidence that secondhand smoke exposure levels are often underestimated in non-smoking women, she calls the absence of female subjects "unfortunate, alt
Source:American Thoracic Society