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Open Access Research article

Impact of the "Tobacco control law" on exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in Spain

Iñaki Galán1*, Nelva Mata1, Carmen Estrada2, Lucía Díez-Gañán1, Luis Velázquez3, Belén Zorrilla1, Ana Gandarillas1 and Honorato Ortiz2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Epidemiology. Institute of Public Health. Madrid Regional Authority for Health & Consumer Affairs, Spain

2 Department of Preventive Medicine. Institute of Public Health. Madrid Regional Authority for Health & Consumer Affairs, Spain

3 Department for Coordination of the Regional Plan of Tobacco Prevention and Control. Institute of Public Health. Madrid Regional Authority for Health & Consumer Affairs, Spain

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BMC Public Health 2007, 7:224  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-224

Published: 30 August 2007

Abstract

Background

The initial evaluations of the introduction of legislation that regulates smoking in enclosed public places in European countries, describe an important effect in the control of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. However, the evidence is still limited. The objective of this study is to estimate the short-term effects of the comprehensive "Tobacco control law" introduced in Spain on January 2006, which includes a total ban of smoking in workplaces and a partial limitation of smoking in bars and restaurants.

Methods

Cross-sectional, population-based study. The self-reported exposure to environmental tobacco smoke at home, at work, in bars and restaurants of the population aged 18 to 64 years in the Madrid Region during a period prior to the law (October and November 2005; n = 1750) was compared to that of the period immediately after the law came into force (January-July 2006; n = 1252). Adjusted odds ratios (OR) were calculated using logistic regression models.

Results

Passive exposure to tobacco smoke at home has hardly changed. However, at indoor workplaces there has been a considerable reduction: after the law came into force the OR for daily exposure > 0–3 hours versus non-exposure was 0.11 (95% CI: 0.07 to 0.17) and for more than 3 hours, 0.12 (95% CI: 0.09 to 0.18). For fairly high exposure in bars and restaurants versus non-exposure, the OR in the former was 0.30 (95% CI: 0.20 to 0.44) and in the latter was 0.24 (95% CI: 0.18 to 0.32); for very high exposure versus non-exposure they were 0.16 (95% CI: 0.10 to 0.24) and 0.11 (95% CI: 0.07 to 0.19), respectively. These results were similar for the smoking and non-smoking populations.

Conclusion

A considerable reduction in exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in the workplace and, to a lesser extent, in bars and restaurants, is related to the implementation of the "Tobacco control law". Although only initial figures, these results already demonstrate the effectiveness of strategies that establish control measures to guarantee smoke-free places.