Scand J Work Environ Health 2002;28 suppl 2:7-15    pdf

Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in Finland in 2000

by Kauppinen TP, Virtanen SV

Objectives Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke at workplaces, homes and other places was assessed.

Methods Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke was defined as occurring when a person reported inhaling, at least occasionally, tobacco smoke from other people’s smoke. Some of the exposed were also smokers themselves. Questionnaire-based survey data and industrial hygiene measurements on environmental tobacco smoke were used to estimate the numbers of exposed persons by exposure level in Finland in January 2000.

Results About 340 000 workers (16% of the employed population) were exposed to environmental tobacco smoke at work, of them 30 000 were exposed almost continuously (1.4% of the employed population). The mean level of exposure was 1 µg/m3 as measured by nicotine in workroom air. The nicotine concentration ranged from 100 µg/m3. Nearly 600 000 Finns (11% of the population) were exposed to environmental tobacco smoke at home. According measurements abroad, their mean nicotine exposure corresponded to about 4 µg/m3 at work. In addition, over 1 million Finns were exposed during leisure time to an unknown mean level of environmental tobacco smoke. Annual exposure of the Finnish population in January 2000 was estimated to originate mainly from smoking at home (48%) and leisure time in smoky restaurants (45%). Smoking was restricted at workplaces in 1995 and occupational exposure constituted 7% of the total population exposure in January 2000. New restrictions on smoking in restaurants should decrease the exposure of restaurant workers and customers even further.

Conclusions In spite of regulations, environmental tobacco smoke still remains the most common occupational exposure to chemical carcinogens in Finland.

The following articles refer to this text: 2002;28 suppl 2:3-6; 2002;28 suppl 2:21-29