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Current Smoke-Free Laws May Leave Many Exposed

Update Date: Nov 05, 2013 09:07 AM EST

Recent changes in policy might have led to decreased exposure to tobacco but some workers around experience a high prevalence of secondhand smoke, a new research finds.

The study considered the worker exposure to secondhand smoke following a Massachusetts mandate 8 years back. The law called Smoke-Free Workplace Law required all enclosed workplaces to be smoke-free.

“According to the U.S. Surgeon General, secondhand smoke is hazardous to health and there is no safe level of exposure,” said Kathleen Fitzsimmons, MPH, lead researcher of the study in a press release. “This is the first analysis of population-based state-level data that looks at exposure to on-the-job secondhand smokeamong Massachusetts workers over time since the law went into effect.”

In the study it was found that overall the commonness of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke at work decreased from 8 percent in 2003 to nearly 5.4 per cent in 2010.

The results showed the overall decrease in exposure but there were certain groups that still maintained high exposure to secondhand smoke.

The construction and extraction industries recorded hight exposure with 22.6 where as material moving industries cited 19.8 percent of prevalence of exposure.

“We’re seeing a steady decline in prevalence of exposure, but it’s clear that there are still specific groups of workers that deserve our attention. Findings like these that combine information about occupation and environmental tobacco smoke provide helpful information for evaluatingcomprehensive statewide smoke-free workplace laws and for targeting interventions to reduce risks,” Fitzsimmons added in the press release.

In the study it was also found that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke at work was more common among non-white, male and younger workers.

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