Study Shows More Dangers to Second-Hand Smoke

By: Tamara Evans Email
By: Tamara Evans Email

New research out on Thursday shows that even brief exposure to second-hand smoke can lead to high toxin levels in waiters and bartenders. For the first time it reveals how much smoke is reaching these workers every hour that they work.

To smoke, or not to smoke? It's an ongoing question with many restaurants.

"I was a smoker before, so I know how it is," said Tim Voyles, a You & Me employee.

Voyles has worked in restaurants that allow smoking.

"There's a lot more cleaning that has to be done, plus at night you go home and smell like smoke," Voyles explained.

So has Emily Gillespie.

"They smoked around the bar and the smoke would always go over the booth and down to the people who were in non-smoking," said Gillespie, a You & Me employee.

Now, they work at a restaurant that is smoke-free.

"Everything's cleaner, smells better - you don't have to deal with it, the guests stay happier because there's not somebody smoking around them," Voyles said.

A new study out on July 5, shows what second-hand smoke does to waiters and bartenders.

The research finds that these employees will gradually accumulate higher levels of NNK, which is a carcinogen in cigarette smoke that is known to contribute to causing lung cancer in smokers.

Employees are taking in this toxin at a rate of 6 percent for each hour they work.

"I believe it. I've been in the restaurant where there's 40 people in it, and 35 of them are smoking and there's smoke everywhere," Voyles said.

Tim and Emily said they've already noticed a change in their health now that they work in a smoke-free environment.

"It's probably a lot better. I can probably breath alot better," Gillespie said.

"A little more active I guess - more endurance to last a little bit longer," Voyles said.

So, to smoke or not to smoke, it's your choice, but these employees said they'll stick to smoke-free.

The study on the impact of second-hand smoke on restaurant staff will be published in the American Journal of Public Health in August 2007.

For more on the study, click on the following link:

To get the the online version of the American Journal of Public Health, click on the following link:

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