Restrictive workplace smoking policies: Impact on nonsmokers’ tobacco exposure

Bess H. Marcus, Karen M. Emmons, David B. Abrams, Robert J. Marshall, Margaret Kane, Thomas E. Novotny, Ruth A. Etzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The health consequences of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) are well documented. Although nonsmokers are generally aware of the health risks of ETS exposure, the majority of nonsmokers are regularly exposed. The most common source of exposure is the workplace. Restrictive workplace smoking policies are being used as a primary means of reducing ETS exposure. However, few studies have focused on the relation between workplace policy and ETS exposure. We performed two studies which examined the relationship between smoking policy, self-reported ETS exposure, and salivary cotinine concentrations. Study 1, a pilot study, focused on a workplace-based sample of 106 volunteers; Study 2 examined exposure among 881 nonsmokers in workplace settings. In both studies, more restrictive workplace smoking policies were associated with a lower proportion of nonsmoking volunteers with detectable salivary cotinine. In Study 2, the larger study, the only other variable found to be significantly related to cotinine detection was the presence of smokers in the home. These results suggest that restrictive workplace smoking policies may reduce employees’ overall ETS exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-51
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Public Health Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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