Research/studies Workplace exposures Cancer Respiratory conditions

Secondhand smoke still an issue in certain industries: study


Boston – Despite an overall drop in secondhand smoke exposure in the workplace, workers in industries such as installation and repair, construction, and transportation remain at high risk, concludes a study from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Using data from the Massachusetts Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, researchers examined changes in secondhand smoke exposure before and after a state law banning smoking in the workplace went into effect in 2004.

Although overall exposure to tobacco smoke fell from 8 percent in 2003 to 5.4 percent in 2010, exposure was much higher in the following industries in 2010: installation, repair and maintenance (37.4 percent); construction and extraction (22.6 percent); and transportation and material moving (19.8 percent), according to a press release.

Researchers noted these workers often work outside or in private residences, which fall outside the scope of the law.

The study was presented Nov. 4 at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association.