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Accordions Breathe Easier Since Smoking Ban
Date:9/27/2007

And that's good news for the pub musicians who play them, Irish researchers say

THURSDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Banning smoking in bars is not only salve for the lungs, it is music to the ears.

A smoking ban in Irish workplaces has improved air quality in Irish pubs as well as the health of musical instruments -- such as accordions -- and the people who play them, research suggests.

"Research to date looking at the health effects of the smoking ban on hospitality workers in Ireland has focused mainly on bar staff," said Dr. John Garvey, specialist registrar in respiratory medicine at St. Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin.

Garvey, who plays the accordion, is co-author of a letter to the editor detailing the accordian findings in the Sept. 29 issue of the British Medical Journal.

"It's a remarkable analogy in that you've got an instrument that's basically performing much the same way as the lung and responding much the same way as the lung," added Kirby Donnelly, head and associate professor of environmental and occupational health at Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health.

The Irish government banned smoking in all workplaces, including bars and restaurants, on March 29, 2004.

A study that appeared earlier this year in then American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found a significant reduction in air pollution in pubs and an improvement in respiratory symptoms in Irish bar workers after the ban.

Musicians, including Garvey, frequently gather at pubs to play traditional music together. In addition to the accordion, these pub sessions feature concertina, melodeon and Uilleann (Irish) bagpipes, all of which are bellows-driven.

Anecdotal evidence had suggested that accordions subjected to heavy smoke collected particles inside, much like a person's lungs would.

Garvey and his colleag
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