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Sao Paulo Medical Journal

Print version ISSN 1516-3180On-line version ISSN 1806-9460


LARANJEIRA, Ronaldo; PILLON, Sandra  and  DUNN, John. Environmental tobacco smoke exposure among non-smoking waiters: measurement of expired carbon monoxide levels. Sao Paulo Med. J. [online]. 2000, vol.118, n.4, pp.89-92. ISSN 1806-9460.

CONTEXT: Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is a health risk that is of concern to patrons and of particular concern to employees of restaurants and bars. OBJECTIVE: To assess environmental tobacco smoke exposure (using expired carbon monoxide levels) in non-smoking waiters before and after a normal day's shift and to compare pre-exposure levels with non-smoking medical students. DESIGN: An observational study. SETTING: Restaurants with more than 50 tables or 100 places in São Paulo. SUBJECTS: 100 non-smoking restaurant waiters and 100 non-smoking medical students in São Paulo, Brazil. MAIN MEASUREMENTS: Levels of expired carbon monoxide, measured with a Smokerlyser (Bedfont EC 50 Scientific), before and after a normal day's work. RESULTS: Waiters' pre-exposure expired carbon monoxide levels were similar to those of medical students, but after a mean of 9 hours exposure in the workplace, median levels more than doubled (2.0 ppm vs. 5.0 ppm, P <0.001). Post-exposure carbon monoxide levels were correlated with the number of tables available for smokers (Kendall's tau = 0.2, P <0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is the most likely explanation for the increase in carbon monoxide levels among these non-smoking waiters. These findings can be used to inform the ongoing public health debate on passive smoking.

Keywords : Passive Smoking; Restaurants; Carbon Monoxide; Brazil.

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