Study of Second Hand Tobacco Smoke in Indiana Bars and Casinos

– Implications for a Statewide Indoor Smoking Ban

 

Neil J. Zimmerman, PhD, PE, CIH

Associate Professor of Industrial Hygiene

Purdue University, School of Health Sciences

 

Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) or second-hand smoke, is suspected of causing many thousands of illnesses and deaths in the US alone each year, including lung cancer and heart disease deaths, and respiratory illnesses, in never-smokers.  Indoor air quality was assessed in all 11 casinos located in Indiana during visits in April and May, 2008 as well as 11 bars in March, 2009. The concentrations of fine particle air pollution (PM2.5), was measured with a light-scattering particle detector (TSI SidePak AM510 Personal Aerosol Monitor) as a surrogate for ETS level. Findings included: 1) existing ventilation systems were not effective in reducing the levels of tobacco smoke fine particulate levels;  2) designated non-smoking areas were not effective in significantly reducing the levels of PM2.5 in casinos;  3) average casino gaming floor and bar PM2.5 levels exceeded average outdoor levels by at least 14 times;  4) average casino gaming floor and bar PM2.5 levels exceeded the EPA 24-hr level by at least 4.5 times;  5) patrons and employees exceeded the EPA 24-hr level in less than 4 hours at the average PM2.5 level.