A high number of Chinese workers are exposed to secondhand smoke at work every day, and current smoking bans do not provide adequate protection, according to a study conducted in Shanghai published on 21 October 2010 in the journal Tobacco Control.

The highest level of exposure to secondhand smoke was among restaurant employees—an expected finding considering that restaurants tend to have the weakest smoking bans, if any at all. People who worked at kindergartens were exposed to the least amount of secondhand smoke, mainly because kindergartens employ mostly women, who are less likely to smoke.

There is an urgent need for implementation of comprehensive smoke-free legislation covering all workplaces, including restaurants and hotels, in order to improve occupational health, the study concluded.

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1. Zheng P, Li W, Chapman S, et al. Workplace exposure to secondhand smoke and its association with respiratory symptoms—a cross-sectional study among workers in Shanghai. Tobacco Control, published online 21 Oct 2010. (open access)