Gaps in smoke-free workplace laws may leave many exposed - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Gaps in smoke-free workplace laws may leave many exposed

Updated: Nov 4, 2013 09:51 AM
© Thinkstock / Comstock / Thinkstock © Thinkstock / Comstock / Thinkstock
  • What's Going AroundMore>>

  • What's Going Around - April 16th

    What's Going Around - April 16th

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:16 AM EDT2014-04-16 15:16:33 GMT
    Sinus infections are going around this week. Nurse Practitioner Christy Johnson from Bay Medical-Sacred Heart Family Medicine says, "A sinus infection is inflammation or swelling of your sinuses. WhenMore >>
    A sinus infection can make a person feel miserable. More >>
  • What's Going Around - April 2nd

    What's Going Around - April 2nd

    Wednesday, April 2 2014 11:29 AM EDT2014-04-02 15:29:17 GMT
    It's allergy season, and a lot of patients are struggling right now. Dr. Brian Shaheen from Bay Medical-Sacred Heart Family Medicine says symptoms of allergies include: Congestion Clear nasal dischargeMore >>
    The first signs of pollen also signal the start of allergy season. More >>

MONDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- State laws have reduced the overall rates of secondhand-smoke exposure for many workers, but people in certain occupations are still vulnerable, according to a new study.

Researchers looked at worker exposure to secondhand smoke in Massachusetts after the state implemented its Smoke-Free Workplace Law in 2004. They found that the overall percentage of people exposed fell from 8 percent in 2003 to 5.4 percent in 2010.

However, the investigators found that workers in three job categories still had much higher rates of exposure to secondhand smoke in 2010: installation, repair and maintenance (about 37 percent); construction and extraction (nearly 23 percent); and transportation and material moving industries (almost 20 percent).

These three occupational groups often work in settings not covered by the law -- such as outdoor space or private homes -- or in which the law is difficult to enforce, such as vehicles, the study authors pointed out.

Exposure to secondhand smoke at work was more common among male, non-white and younger workers, according to the study, which is scheduled for presentation Monday at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Boston.

"We're seeing a steady decline in prevalence of exposure, but it's clear that there are still specific groups of workers that deserve our attention," lead researcher Kathleen Fitzsimmons said in an association news release.

"Findings like these that combine information about occupation and environmental tobacco smoke provide helpful information for evaluating comprehensive, statewide smoke-free workplace laws and for targeting interventions to reduce risks," added Fitzsimmons, who is an epidemiologist in the Occupational Health Surveillance Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in Boston.

The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.