Smokefree DC is a citizen-based group whose goal is to promote smokefree environments in Washington, DC.

Ventilation doesn't clean the air, new study confirms

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A new study confirms what we have known for several years now: Ventilation doesn’t remove the carcinogens in secondhand smoke from the air.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis analyzed nicotine levels in 10 bars and 10 restaurants in the St. Louis area. Of those, 16 permitted smoking inside. Not only did researchers analyze the air, but they took hair samples from employees to figure out to what extent the carcinogens were in the workers’ systems.

According to information on Washington University’s website:

[V]entilation systems, a topic of debate in St. Louis, were not only ineffective, but restaurants and bars that had them actually had higher nicotine concentrations in the air than restaurants that didn’t have them, but where the number of patrons who smoked was similar.

As for the employees? Nicotine was found in the hair of all of them.

Note that the U.S. Surgeon General has noted that ventilation systems don’t clean the air. Even the ventilation industry has said that. All it does is take the smell out (sort of).

Missouri doesn’t have a statewide smokefree law, although a number of cities have smokefree laws of varying strengths. New laws that are to take effect Jan. 2 in the city and county of St. Louis are relatively weak — they exempt casinos and bars that don’t get most of their money from food.

C’mon St. Louis. You can do better than that.

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