Secondhand Tobacco Smoke: An Occupational Hazard for Smoking and Non-Smoking
Bar and Nightclub Employees
Miranda R Jones1, Heather Wipfli2,3, Shahida Shahrir2, Erika Avila-Tang1,2, Jonathan M Samet1-
3, Patrick N Breysse2,4, Ana Navas-Acien1-2,4 and the FAMRI Bar Study Investigators
1 Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore,
Maryland, 21205, USA
2 Institute for Global Tobacco Control, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health,
Baltimore, Maryland, 21205, USA
3 Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, 90089,
4 Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg
School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, 21205, USA
Ana Navas-Acien, MD, PhD
Department of Environmental Health Sciences
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
615 N Wolfe St, Office W7513D
Baltimore, MD 21205
Phone number: +1 (410) 502-4267
Fax number: +1 (410) 955-1811
Word Count: text only: 3,051 abstract: 243
Tables: 3 Figures: 1
Keywords: nicotine, tobacco smoke pollution, workplace
Background: In the absence of comprehensive smoking bans in public places, bars and
nightclubs have the highest concentrations of secondhand tobacco smoke, posing a serious health
risk for workers in these venues.
Objective: To assess exposure of bar and nightclub employees to secondhand smoke, including
non-smoking and smoking employees.
Methods: Between 2007 and 2009, we recruited approximately 10 venues per city and up to 5
employees per venue in 24 cities in the Americas, Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. Air nicotine
concentrations were measured for 7 days in 238 venues. To evaluate personal exposure to
secondhand smoke, hair nicotine concentrations were also measured for 625 non-smoking and
311 smoking employees (N=936).
Results: Median (interquartile range [IQR]) air nicotine concentrations were 3.5 (1.5, 8.5) µg/m3
and 0.2 (0.1, 0.7) µg/m3 in smoking and smoke-free venues, respectively. Median (IQR) hair
nicotine concentrations were 6.0 (1.6, 16.0) ng/mg and 1.7 (0.5, 5.5) ng/mg in smoking and non-
smoking employees, respectively. After adjustment for age, sex, education, living with a smoker,
hair treatment and region, a 2-fold increase in air nicotine concentrations was associated with a
30% (95% confidence interval 23%, 38%) increase in hair nicotine concentrations in non-
smoking employees and with a 10% (2%, 19%) increase in smoking employees.
Conclusions: Occupational exposure to secondhand smoke, assessed by air nicotine, resulted in
elevated concentrations of hair nicotine among non-smoking and smoking bar and nightclub
employees. The high levels of airborne nicotine found in bars and nightclubs and the
contribution of this exposure to employee hair nicotine concentrations support the need for
legislation measures that ensure complete protection from secondhand smoke in these venues.
Secondhand tobacco smoke exposure is a major cause of respiratory, cardiovascular and
cancer morbidity and mortality around the world.1, 2 As of 2004, over 10 million disability-
adjusted life years, 0.7% of total worldwide burden of disease, were lost due to secondhand
smoke exposure.2 Of all public places, bars and nightclubs have the highest air levels of
secondhand smoke,3-5 posing a serious health risk for employees spending long hours in their
work environment.6 Epidemiological studies have shown that hospitality employees have 50 to
60% greater risk of lung cancer compared to other populations.7, 8 To protect all people
including workers from exposure to secondhand smoke, Article 8 of the World Health
Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) calls for
comprehensive smoke-free legislation eliminating tobacco smoking in all indoor public places
and workplaces.9, 10 As of 2011, however, only 11% of the world’s population was protected by
smoke-free policies that included bars, restaurants and nightclubs.11 These venues have largely
been excluded from smoke-free workplace and public place legislation due to the tobacco
industry’s influence on the hospitality sector to oppose smoking regulations.12, 13 In this study,
we assessed secondhand smoke exposure in bar and nightclub employees from large cities
around the world. To assess personal exposure to secondhand smoke, we evaluated the
relationship of workplace air nicotine concentrations with hair nicotine concentrations, a
biomarker of internal dose, in both smoking and non-smoking employees.
Design and Population
This study is part of a multi-city effort designed to assess tobacco control measures in
bars, cafes/tea houses and nightclubs around the world.14 By design, the study recruited
approximately 10 venues per city and up to 5 employees per venue in 24 large cities in the
Americas, Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. Study sites, located in countries with a wide range of
smoking legislation in public places (Appendix 1), were selected based on previous
collaborations3, 15 and the presence of a within-country study coordinator and team with
experience in tobacco control research. Training of the study coordinators was conducted
centrally, in person or online following a training manual, simulated interviews and question-by-
question guidelines. Each study coordinator was responsible for the training of the fieldworkers.
A total of 238 venues were recruited between January 2007 (Baltimore) and September
2009 (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia), ranging from 6 venues in Kremenchug, Ukraine to 11 venues in
Baltimore, USA and Mexico City, Mexico (Appendix 1). In each city, bars, cafes/tea houses or
nightclubs were recruited from 2 to 3 neighbourhoods with a high concentration of public places
where people, especially young adults, spend time or gather socially. Venues were selected from
popular areas, covering different socioeconomic sectors and neighbourhoods using a door-to-
door sampling strategy, except in Manila where venues were randomly selected from rosters by
public health inspectors. If voluntary smoke-free venues existed in the city, at least 2 of the
selected venues were required to be smoke-free. If smoke-free legislation existed in the city or
country, all venues were supposedly smoke-free (Appendix 1).
The minimal requirements for a venue to be in the study included owner agreement and
that at least one smoking and one non-smoking employee were willing to provide a hair sample.
Venue median response rate was 59% and ranged from 8% in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan to 91% in
Bangkok, Thailand (Appendix 1). In Buenos Aires, Argentina only smoke-free establishments
agreed to participate. Informed consent was required for the participating venue owners/
managers and employees. The goal was to recruit at least one smoking and two non-smoking
employees (up to 5 employees per venue). A total of 936 employees (625 non-smokers and 311
smokers) were recruited, ranging from 20 in Buenos Aires, Argentina to 76 in St. Louis, USA.
The study protocol and consent forms were approved by the Institutional Review Board of the
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and by a local ethics committee in each
participating city. All participants provided written informed consent.
The bar owner/manager and the employees completed standardized questionnaires
administered in the local language of the country by trained interviewers during work hours, but
before the venues were open to the public. The employees were asked to provide information on
demographics, smoking behaviour, exposure to secondhand smoke at work, home and other
places, and opinions about secondhand smoke legislation. Employees were classified as non-
smokers if they had not smoked a cigarette in the past 12 months and as smokers if they had
smoked in the past 12 months. To confirm the smoking or non-smoking status of the employees,
an extra question was asked before the hair sample collection to enquire about smoking (even a
single puff) in the last 30 days. The bar owners/managers were asked to describe general
characteristics of the venue, including number of employees, hours of operation, occupancy,
ventilation systems and smoking policy (smoke-free or smoking allowed).
Air Nicotine Monitoring
Time-weighted average air nicotine concentrations in each venue were measured for one
week using passive samplers originally developed by Hammond and Leaderer.16 Samplers
comprised a filter treated with sodium bisulphate, placed in 37 mm sampling cassette, and
covered with a porous diffusion membrane. Two monitors were placed in each bar/nightclub
with locations selected to represent areas of the venue where employees most frequently worked.
A total of 9 samplers were lost or stolen during the fieldwork. At the end of the sampling period,
the remaining 467 samplers were securely closed and shipped to the Exposure Assessment
Laboratory of the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School
of Public Health where the nicotine collected by each sampler was extracted and analyzed using
gas chromatography with nitrogen-selective detection. The airborne concentration of nicotine
was estimated by dividing the amount of nicotine collected by the filter (µg) per volume of air
sampled (m3). The volume of air sampled is equal to the total of sampling time in minutes
multiplied by the flow rate (25 mL/min).
Air nicotine concentrations from samplers placed in the same venue were comparable and
concentrations are presented as the average of the two air nicotine samplers in each venue. For
quality control purposes, 10% of samplers were duplicates and/or blanks. The intra-class
correlation coefficient between duplicate samples was 0.94. Blanks were used to determine the
blank-corrected nicotine concentrations and to calculate the nicotine limit of detection (range
0.002- 0.009 µg/m3). A total of 6 samples had air nicotine concentrations below the limit of
detection. For samples below the limit of detection, a value of half the limit of detection was
assigned for statistical analyses.
Hair samples from the employees were collected on the day the nicotine samplers were
installed. A small hair sample (~30- 50 strands) was obtained near the hair root from the back of
the scalp where there is the most uniform growth pattern between individuals. Hair samples were
placed in labelled sealed plastic bags and shipped to the Exposure Assessment Laboratory of the
Institute for Global Tobacco Control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Up to 3 cm of hair from the scalp, thoroughly cleaned to remove any nicotine in the outside of
the hair, was used to evaluate secondhand smoke exposure during the most recent months. Hair
nicotine was measured by gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC/MS) following the
method described by Kim et al.17, 18 Hair nicotine concentrations were calculated by dividing the
amount of nicotine measured in each hair sample (ng) by the mass of hair analyzed (g). The limit
of detection was 0.02 ng/mg for a 30 mg hair sample and 87 samples were below the limit of
detection and were assigned a value of half the detection limit. The percent coefficient of
variation ranged from 12% to 20% for higher (approximately 3 ng/mg) and low (approximately
0.5 ng/mg) hair nicotine concentrations, respectively. For quality control purposes, duplicate
analysis of 10% of hair samples were analyzed by the laboratory. The intra-class correlation
coefficient between duplicate samples was 0.97.
Descriptive analyses were stratified by region (Americas, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa)
and/or employee smoking/non-smoking status. Distributions of air and hair nicotine
concentrations were described using the median and interquartile range. We used crude and
multivariable adjusted mixed-effect linear models with city-specific intercepts to evaluate the
dose-response relationship between air nicotine and hair nicotine concentrations. Hair nicotine
concentrations (independent variable) was log-transformed to improve normality. Air nicotine
was modelled using different strategies to evaluate the shape of the dose-response using tertiles,
log2-transformed, and the original scale. In tertile models, we computed ratios (95% confidence
interval) of the geometric mean of hair nicotine concentrations comparing tertiles 2 and 3 to the
lowest tertile of air nicotine. In log2-transformed models, we evaluated the ratio of the geometric
mean of hair nicotine concentration with a doubling in air nicotine concentrations. In models
with air nicotine concentrations in the original scale, we evaluated the ratio of the geometric
mean of hair nicotine with a change in 1 µg/m3 of air nicotine concentrations. Multivariable
models for the association between air and hair nicotine concentrations were adjusted for age,
sex, education, living with a smoker, hair treatment and region. Models for non-smokers were
further adjusted for never/former smoking status. For smokers, further adjustment for number of
cigarettes smoked per day did not change estimates (not shown). Multiple imputation,19
assuming data was missing at random, was used to impute values for employees missing data on
age (N=2), education (N=5), living with a smoker (N=13), hair treatment (N=16) and number of
cigarettes smoked per day (N=56). To assess differences in the association of air and hair
nicotine concentrations across employee characteristics, we also estimated the ratio of hair
nicotine concentrations by air nicotine concentrations for subgroups defined by sex, age, region,
education, living with a smoker and hair treatment. Analyses were conducted using Stata version
11.1 (Stata corporation, Texas, USA). The statistical significance level was set at α = .05. All
statistical analyses were 2-sided.
Among the 238 venues included in the study, 18% were smoke-free as reported by the
owner/manager (Table 1, Appendix 1). The median maximum legal occupancy ranged from 80
in venues recruited in Eastern European cities to 150 in venues recruited in American cities. The
median number of employees per venue was 15 with small differences across regions. For
descriptive purposes, 61%, 41% and 43% of the venues served a full menu, had dance space and
offered live music, respectively; 68% sold cigarettes at the bar counter or from a vending
machine and 29% reported receiving promotional items from tobacco companies.
Fifty percent of the participants were male, the mean age was 29 years old, 37% had a
college-level education and 62% were bartenders or waiters (Table 2, Appendix 1). The median
(interquartile range) hours worked per week was 48 (40, 60). Among non-smoking employees,
11% were former smokers. Forty-six percent (43% and 52% of non-smoking and smoking
employees, respectively) reported living with a smoker. Fifty-seven percent (64% non-smokers
and 44% smokers) supported smoke-free policies and 78% (87% non-smokers and 61%
smokers) reported they would prefer to work in a smoke-free environment.
Air and hair nicotine concentrations
Median (interquartile range) air nicotine concentrations were 3.5 (1.5, 8.5) µg/m3 and 0.2
(0.1, 0.7) µg/m3 in smoking and smoke-free venues, respectively (Table 1, Appendix 2). Median
(interquartile range) hair nicotine concentrations were 6.0 (1.6, 16.0) ng/mg and 1.7 (0.5, 5.5)
ng/mg in smoking employees and non-smoking, respectively (Table 2, Appendix 2). Median
(interquartile range) hair nicotine concentrations for all employees working in smoking and
smoke-free venues were 2.7 (0.8, 9.2) ng/mg and 1.3 (0.3, 6.5) ng/mg, respectively.
After adjustment for age, sex, education, living with a smoker, hair treatment, region (and
former smoking status for non-smokers), a 2-fold increase in air nicotine concentrations was
associated with a 30% (95% confidence interval 23%, 38%) and a 10% (2%, 19%) increase in
hair nicotine concentrations in non-smoking and smoking employees, respectively (Table 3). For
non-smokers, the hair nicotine concentrations were 2.54 (95% CI: 1.91, 3.39) and 3.77 (95% CI:
2.62, 5.42) higher for tertiles 2 and 3 of air nicotine concentrations compared to tertile 1 (p-value
for trend <0.001). The corresponding ratios comparing tertiles 2 and 3 to the lowest tertile were
1.55 (95% CI: 1.03, 2.34) and 1.53 (95% CI: 0.95, 2.46), respectively among smokers (p-value
for trend= 0.02). For each 1 µg/m3 increase in air nicotine concentrations, hair nicotine
concentrations increased 5% (95%CI: 3%, 8%) and 3% (95% CI: 1%, 6%), respectively, for non-
smoking and smoking employees. After multivariable adjustment, hair nicotine concentrations
were higher among men and among employees without chemical hair treatment in the past
month (Table 3). Concentrations were also significantly lower in smoking employees in Eastern
Europe compared to other regions.
The association between air nicotine and hair nicotine concentrations was similar across
participant characteristics except for evidence of a stronger relationship among smoking
employees without chemically treated hair compared to those with chemical treatment (p-value
for interaction =0.05)(Figure 1).
Exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke in the workplace, assessed by air nicotine,
resulted in elevated concentrations of hair nicotine among both non-smoking and smoking
employees. Our study extends previous findings on elevated hair nicotine concentrations in non-
smoking hospitality employees20-24 using a multi-city approach. In addition, we found that
exposure to secondhand smoke is a relevant occupational hazard for both non-smoking and
smoking employees. Comprehensive smoke-free legislation is needed to protect hospitality
employees from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke at work.
The negative health impact of exposure to secondhand smoke well established.25 Levels
of air nicotine and indoor fine particulate matter have been shown to be much greater in bars,
restaurants and nightclubs compared to other public places.3, 5, 26, 27 The health effects of
exposure to secondhand smoke among this occupational group have also been investigated. In
1993, a review of six studies that examined the risk of lung cancer among bar and restaurant
employees controlling for active smoking concluded that there is approximately 50% (range:
10% to 90%) increased lung cancer risk among these employees compared to the general
population.7 The increased lung cancer risk was attributed to their higher exposure to
secondhand smoke. In the United Kingdom, among 617 lung cancer, ischemic heart disease or
stroke deaths attributable to secondhand smoke in 2003, 54 deaths were among long-term
employees of the hospitality industry and almost half of these deaths were among pub, bar and
nightclub employees despite that smaller size of this sector of the workforce.28 In New Zealand,
a study of 435 bar employees found that among those exposed to secondhand smoke at work,
53% reported lung or throat irritation and 73% wanted to restrict smoking in bars.29 Non-
smokers exposed to secondhand smoke at work have more illness-related absenteeism than non-
smokers without work exposure.30 Increased hair nicotine concentration among non-smoking
bar and restaurant workers has also been associated with greater number of behavioural
symptoms of nicotine dependence.31 Finally, reducing secondhand smoke exposure in bars and
restaurants has been associated with decreased hair nicotine21 and salivary32-35 and urine36
cotinine concentrations in employees and with decreased respiratory symptoms in studies from
Norway37, Sweden38 and the United States (Kentucky and California).39, 40
Hair nicotine is a reliable and valid biomarker of secondhand smoke exposure with each
centimetre of hair reflecting about 1 month of cumulative tobacco smoke exposure.41-43 In our
study, air nicotine was a major determinant of hair nicotine concentrations both in non-smokers
and smokers, although the association was stronger among non-smokers. Other determinants of
hair nicotine included sex, with higher concentrations among men, chemical hair treatments
including colouring, bleaching and perming in the past month, and region, with lower
concentrations in participants from Eastern Europe. The lower concentrations of hair nicotine
among participants with chemical hair treatment are consistent with previous findings,44, 45
including studies among hospitality employees from New Zealand21 and among women
participating in a large multi-city study evaluating secondhand smoke exposure in women and
children around the world.15 Lower hair nicotine concentrations in women from Eastern Europe
versus other regions were also found in that large study.15 Employees from Eastern Europe were
more likely to be female and to use more hair treatment but lower hair nicotine concentrations
among Eastern Europe employees could be also be related to differences in hair nicotine uptake
by hair colour or other characteristics, or by differences in nicotine metabolism. Hair colour and
nicotine metabolism could also play a role in explaining the stronger association between air
nicotine and hair nicotine among non-smoking employees from Africa (Figure 1).
Strengths of the study include the objective measures of secondhand smoke exposure, the
multi-city study design and the standardized protocol. A few limitations should be taken into
account. First, in most cities, venues and employees were selected by convenience sampling;
therefore results may not be representative of secondhand smoke exposure in a particular city.
The participating venues, however, were located in areas of the cities with a high concentration
of places where people gather socially. Moreover, the goal of the study was not to estimate the
prevalence of secondhand smoke exposure, but to evaluate the contribution of secondhand
smoke exposure in the workplace to hair nicotine, a biomarker of internal dose. Although hair
nicotine concentrations reflect cumulative exposure to tobacco smoke in the past months, air
nicotine concentrations were only collected for 7 days. Potential differences in levels of exposure
to secondhand smoke during those days could have resulted in underestimation of the
relationship between air and hair nicotine concentrations. Also, while we observed lower
concentrations of hair nicotine among participants with chemical hair treatment, we are unable to
differentiate between different types of chemical treatment. Finally, the response rate was low in
some countries, although sensitivity analyses excluding cities with low-response rates yielded
similar results (data not shown).
This multi-city study confirms that secondhand smoke exposure remains an important
occupational hazard for non-smoking and smoking employees in bars, cafes and nightclubs in the
absence of comprehensive smoke-free legislations. At the time of the study only 18% of venues
were smoke-free and only one participating city (Montevideo, Uruguay) had comprehensive
smoke-free legislation which prohibited smoking in all public places including bars and
nightclubs. Since the completion of the study comprehensive policies have been introduced in
Guatemala; Mexico City, Mexico; Baltimore, USA; Poland and Shanghai, China (Appendix 1).
The WHO’s recent report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic found that since 2008 the number of
people protected by comprehensive smoke-free laws has increased more than 385 million,
representing a 6% increase of the world population that is protected.11 Article 8 of the WHO
Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) mandates participating nations to
implement policies to prevent exposure to tobacco smoke in indoor workplaces, public transport
and indoor public places and workplaces including restaurants, bars and nightclubs.9, 10 Many of
these countries are now approaching their sixth year of implementation and are thus required to
adopt comprehensive legislation to protect individuals from exposure to secondhand smoke in all
indoor workplaces and indoor public places. With the exceptions of Argentina, Armenia,
Guyana, Indonesia and the United States, all countries in our study had ratified the FCTC at the
time of the study.
In conclusion, the high levels of airborne nicotine found in bars and nightclubs and the
contribution of this exposure to employee hair nicotine concentrations support the need for
legislation that regulates smoking in these environments and provides complete protection from
secondhand smoke for all employees. This is an opportune moment for countries to honour their
commitments under the FCTC and expand the number of people protected from secondhand
smoke worldwide. In countries with comprehensive legislation, efforts are needed to ensure
complete enforcement. By eliminating secondhand tobacco smoke in socializing and hospitality
venues, smoke-free legislations can reduce the burden of disease related to secondhand smoke
Acknowledgements: The FAMRI Bar Study Investigators include Wifred Agbenyikey (Health
Research Unit, Accra, Ghana), Mira B Aghi and Mitali Chakrabarty (Taleem Research
Foundation, Guajarat, India), Marta Angueira (Union Antitabaquica Argentina, Buenos Aires,
Argentina), George Bakhturidze (Tobacco Control Alliance in Georgia, Tbilisi, Georgia),
Carmen Barco (CEDRO, Lima, Peru), Joaquin Barnoya (Cardiovascular Unit of Guatemala and
Washington University in St. Louis, USA), Marcia Bassier-Paltoo (Ministry of Health,
Georgetown, Guyana), Jamil H. Chowdhury (RTM International, Dhaka, Bangladesh), Rita
Damayanti (Center for Health Research University, Indonesia), Beatriz Goja (Facultad de
Medicina, Montevideo, Uruguay), Nipapun Kungskulniti and Punyarat Lapvongwatana (Mahidol
University, Bangkok, Thailand), Vladimir Levshin (Russian Cancer Research Center, Moscow,
Russia), Chimedsuren Ochir (School of Public Health, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia), Oluwakemi
Odukoya (Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria), Zheng Pin-Pin (Fudan
University, Shanghai, China), Krzysztof Przewozniak (Health Promotion Foundation, Warsaw,
Poland), Luz Myriam Reynales-Shigematsu and Tonatiuh Barrientos-Gutiérrez (Instituto
Nacional Salud Publica, Mexico City, Mexico), Rachel Rowena Garcia and Lia Losonczy
(Center for Health Development, Manila, Philippines), Arayik Sargsyan (American University of
Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia), Dao Thanh Huyen (Center for Community Health Strategy, Hanoi,
Vietnam), Denis Vinnikov (Public Association “Lung Health”, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan) and Kyryll
Zhyvotovskyy (European Choice, Kremenchug, Ukraine).
Funding: This project was supported by a Clinical Investigator Award from the Flight Attendant
Medical Research Institute (FAMRI). Miranda R Jones and Ana Navas-Acien were also
supported by the US National Cancer Institute (R03CA153959). Miranda R Jones was supported
by the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Institutional Training from the National Heart, Lung and
Blood Institute (T32HL007024).
Contributorship statement: ANA, JMS and PNB had the idea for the study. ANA, HW and SS
directed the fieldwork. The FAMRI Bar Study Investigators directed the fieldwork within their
country. ANA, EAT and MRJ prepared the study database and planned statistical analyses. PB is
responsible for the air nicotine and hair laboratory analysis, quality control and assurance and
interpretation of air and hair nicotine data. MRJ and ANA analysed the data and drafted the
manuscript. All authors participated in the interpretation of the results and contributed to the
writing of the manuscript.
Competing interests: None.
Data Sharing Statement: Data from this study are available for reanalysis and for analysis of
additional research questions through contact with the study authors.
What this paper adds:
• All bar and nightclub employees, including smoking employees, are exposed to elevated
concentrations of secondhand tobacco smoke in the absence of comprehensive smoke-
• Increasing air nicotine concentrations in the workplace result in elevated concentrations
of hair nicotine concentrations among both non-smoking and smoking employees
• Secondhand smoke is an occupational hazard and comprehensive smoke-free legislations
are needed to protect workers in the hospitality industry.
FIGURE 1: Ratio (95% confidence Interval) of the Geometric Mean of Hair Nicotine
Concentrations per Doubling of Air Nicotine Concentrations by Employee Characteristics.
Points represent the ratio of the geometric mean of hair nicotine concentrations for a doubling in
air nicotine concentrations. Horizontal lines represent 95% confidence intervals. Ratios were
adjusted for age, sex, education, living with a smoker, hair treatment, region (and former
smoking status for non-smokers).
Table 1. Venue characteristics by region
Number of employees
Serves full menu
Air nicotine concentrations (µg/m3)
Values represent percent or median (interquartile range)
150 (80- 250)
15 (8- 26)
1.5 (0.3- 3.9)
3.0 (1.2- 5.7)
0.2 (0.1- 0.4)
80 (60- 120)
14 (10- 23)
7.1 (2.9- 12.9)
8.5 (3.6- 13.4)
0.1 (0.03- 0.2)
125 (50- 300)
15 (9- 24)
1.5 (0.3- 2.9)
1.6 (1.0- 2.9)
0.03 (0.03- 0.04)
100 (60- 200)
15 (8- 26)
100 (40- 200)
18 (7- 30)
2.1 (0.8- 5.4)
3.4 (0.9- 6.8)
0.9 (0.4- 1.1)
2.3 (0.6- 6.7)
3.5 (1.5- 8.5)
0.2 (0.1- 0.7)
Table 2. Employee characteristics by region
< High School
> High school education
Hours per week at work
Living with a smoker
Support smoke-free policies
Does not matter
Prefer work in smoke-free places
Does not matter
Hair chemical treatment
Hair nicotine (ng/mg)
Values represent percent or median (interquartile range)
28 (23- 38)
40 (27- 50)
1.6 (0.3- 5.1)
1.0 (0.2- 4.0)
1.3 (0.3- 4.8)
5.0 (1.3- 14.6)
25 (22- 31)
51 (40- 65)
1.2 (0.5- 3.9)
0.7 (0.4- 1.6)
1.1 (0.5- 3.6)
1.8 (0.7- 6.6)
26.5 (23- 32)
60 (48- 72)
1.9 (0.3- 6.5)
2.2 (0.1- 4.4)
1.9 (0.3- 6.4)
7.1 (4.6- 16.8)
26 (22- 32)
48 (40- 60)
25 (21- 31)
54 (48- 63)
2.3 (0.8- 7.6)
2.7 (1.1- 8.0)
2.4 (0.9- 7.7)
13.2 (4.5- 26.1)
1.8 (0.6- 6.0)
1.1 (0.4- 4.4)
1.7 (0.5- 5.5)
6.0 (1.6- 16.0)
Table 3. Ratio (95% CI) of the geometric mean of hair nicotine concentrations by air nicotine concentrations and other characteristics*
N Crude Adjusted
Air nicotine (µg/m3)
< 1.3 203 1.00 (reference) 1.00 (reference)
1.3- 5.2 210 2.51 (1.86, 3.37) 2.54 (1.91, 3.39)
> 5.2 212 3.42 (2.35, 4.99) 3.77 (2.62, 5.42)
P-value for trend <0.0001 <0.0001
Per doubling of air nicotine 625 1.30 (1.22, 1.38) 1.30 (1.23, 1.38)
Men 302 1.00 (reference) 1.00 (reference)
Women 323 0.48 (0.38, 0.63) 0.57 (0.43, 0.75)
< 26 310 1.00 (reference) 1.00 (reference)
≥ 26 315 0.93 (0.73, 1.18) 0.92 (0.73, 1.15)
Americas 142 1.00 (reference) 1.00 (reference)
Eastern Europe 157 0.88 (0.35, 2.23) 0.55 (0.26, 1.18)
Asia 240 2.34 (1.00, 5.50) 1.62 (0.81, 3.21)
Africa 86 1.34 (0.36, 4.98) 1.25 (0.44, 3.53)
≤ High school 410 1.00 (reference) 1.00 (reference)
> High school 212 0.72 (0.54, 0.95) 0.79 (0.61, 1.02)
Living with a smoker
No 352 1.00 (reference) 1.00 (reference)
Yes 265 1.11 (0.86, 1.43) 1.14 (0.90, 1.44)
Yes 285 1.00 (reference) 1.00 (reference)
No 333 1.85 (1.46, 2.34) 1.40 (1.08, 1.81)
*Estimated using mixed-effect models that allow for country specific intercepts.
Air nicotine models were adjusted for age (< 26, ≥ 26 y), sex, education (≤ high school, > high school), living with a smoker, hair treatment,
region and for former smoking status for non-smokers. Other variables were further adjusted for air nicotine concentrations (log2-transformed).
P-value for trend assumes a log-log relationship between air and hair nicotine concentrations.
1.67 (1.08, 2.57)
1.55 (0.94, 2.55)
1.09 (1.00, 1.19)
0.44 (0.31, 0.63)
1.13 (0.81, 1.57)
0.41 (0.17, 0.99)
1.76 (0.77, 4.04)
1.85 (0.41, 8.48)
0.98 (0.69, 1.39)
1.10 (0.80, 1.53)
2.44 (1.76, 3.38)
1.55 (1.03, 2.34)
1.53 (0.95, 2.46)
1.10 (1.02, 1.19)
0.67 (0.45, 0.99)
1.18 (0.85, 1.62)
0.45 (0.21, 0.97)
1.81 (0.89, 3.67)
1.32 (0.35, 4.95)
0.95 (0.68, 1.32)
1.12 (0.82, 1.53)
2.14 (1.49, 3.07)
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