Hospitality sector employees constitute one of the key groups with respect to their secondhand tobacco smoke exposure at work. This study aimed to detect urinary cotinine and breath carbon monoxide (CO) levels among bar and restaurant employees in Ankara, as well as the employees’ opinions on the new antitobacco law, changes in smoking behavior, and subjective health status before and after the law entered into force.
This before–after study was conducted in 19 premises, with the participation of 65 employees before implementation and 81 employees 3 months after implementation of the new antitobacco law in the hospitality sector. Data in both phases were collected through face-to-face surveys, breath CO measurements, and urinary cotinine analysis. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize data, whereas chi-square test, paired and unpaired t tests, and analysis of variance were used to compare groups.
Most of the restaurant and bar employees were male and below 35 years old. Before–after comparison showed that health complaints of the hospitality sector employees such as watering and itching in the eyes, difficulty in breathing, and cough (p < .001), as well as breath CO (p < .001) and urinary cotinine levels (p < .001) decreased significantly 3 months after implementation of the law. Among the smoking employees, mean number of cigarettes smoked was also found to decrease (p = .012). Majority of the employees (83.8%) were found to support the smoking ban in enclosed public places.
Results of this study provide solid evidence on the positive health effects of smoke-free laws and employees’ support for smoke-free workplaces.