WorkPlace Smoking Bans

Lexington, KY instituted a workplace smoking ban last year. I've flip-flopped on this issue for a long time. I don't smoke. I hate smoke. I leave bars or parties that have heavy smoke. But at the same time, it seems to me that it should be the business owner's choice whether or not smoking is allowed.

The University of KY (Go Wildcats!) recently released two studies, one on worker health since the ban, and the other on the economic impacts of it.

A new study being released today demonstrates that the health of area restaurant and bar workers has improved dramatically since the enactment last year of Lexington's Smoke-Free Law.

The study, conducted by the University of Kentucky College of Nursing in collaboration with the UK Prevention Research Center, examined hair nicotine of 106 employees at nearly 50 randomly selected Lexington bars and restaurants.

Hair samples were analyzed four months before the law took effect and then three months after the enactment of the ordinance, which bans smoking in public areas in Lexington. The study found that lower nicotine levels in the hair samples were found even among workers who smoked.

Principal Investigator Ellen Hahn said, "The smoke-free law is protecting the health of Lexington's service workers. Food service workers are disproportionately affected by secondhand smoke exposure when compared to white collar workers; and Lexington's law is helping to change that."

The study also showed that workers were less likely to report colds and sinus infections after the law went into effect (84 percent pre-law; 49 percent at three months; and 50 percent at six months). Further, the study revealed that workers reported their total exposure to secondhand smoke dropped dramatically after the law went into effect.

For the more detailed papers, go here.