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Health of Scot bar workers Improved since Smoking Ban

Ban on smoking in bars improves the health of the lungs in bar workers according to a new study//.

The study has been published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, and comes from Scotland where smoking in bars and other confined public places has been banned on March 26, 2006.

Researchers such as Daniel Menzies, MBChB, of Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Dundee, Scotland took this opportunity to study 77 nonsmoking bar workers in Tayside, Scotland, before and after the ban went into effect.

The workers were given questionnaires regarding their lung symptoms. In addition they also underwent lung function tests and provided blood samples for the study.

Around 80 percent of the bar workers reported having lung symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheeze, cough, and phlegm.

A month after the ban, it was found that this percentage dropped to about 53 percent and in the second month fell even further to 47 percent.

There was even an improvement in the bar workers' lung function results and lower levels of cotinine was also observed in their blood after the ban began. `Cotinine is a measure of exposure to tobacco smoke.

According to the researchers 12 bar workers who also complained of asthma before the ban reported some alleviation of their symptoms and a better quality of life following the ban.

Editorialist Mark Eisner, MD, MPH, who works at the University of California, San Francisco, points out that the study "confirms and amplifies previous research" on the lung effects of smoking bans for restaurant and bar workers.

Eisner adds that there is "compelling scientific evidence that smoke-free workplace legislation is rapidly effective in improving the health of workers and that the time has come to clear the air.


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