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U of M Study Provides First Scientific Evidence That the Freedom to Breathe Act is Creating Healthier Workplaces for Hospitality Employees
Date:3/26/2008

Study found an 85 percent decrease in carcinogen levels in study

participants

MINNEAPOLIS, March 27 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study released today by the University of Minnesota Cancer Center and ClearWay Minnesota(SM) found that since the Freedom to Breathe Act went into effect on October 1, 2007, hospitality workers have significantly reduced exposure to a tobacco-specific cancer causing chemical.

The study measured workers exposure to cotinine (a measure of nicotine exposure) and NNAL, a by-product of a potent lung cancer-causing toxin, before and after the law took effect. The study included nonsmoking employees of bars, restaurants and bowling alleys from throughout the state. Each participant submitted urine samples taken before and after the law was enacted, as well as a detailed questionnaire, to the University of Minnesota research team for analysis. Major findings include an 83 percent decrease in cotinine levels and an 85 percent decrease in NNAL levels inside study participant's bodies.

Dr. Dorothy Hatsukami, a nationally respected tobacco researcher, served as the lead investigator for the study. "The comprehensive smoking ban has had a significant impact in reducing bodily exposure to a powerful lung cancer cancer-causing agent and nicotine in our hospitality workers.

"Protecting our workers (and patrons) from known cancer causing agents, which has been demonstrated to be present in the urine of these workers prior to the smoking ban, should continue to be a high priority," said Dr. Hatsukami, Forster Family Professor in Cancer Prevention, University of Minnesota Cancer Center.

The findings substantiate previous University of Minnesota Cancer Center studies that have shown that nonsmoking restaurant workers and casino patrons have significantly higher levels of cancer-causing toxins in their bodies after working in or visiting establishments that allow smoking. Other research has
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SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota
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