The Irish Pub Study - Irish Pubs air is cleaner than in many Irish pubs around the world
Celtic Ireland Pub, Liege, Belgium
A survey of air pollution levels in "Irish pubs" around the world has found that indoor air pollution in authentic Irish pubs in Ireland,where a smoke-free law has been in effect for two years, is 91 percent lower than in "Irish pubs" located in other countries and cities where smoke-free laws do not apply.
Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Roswell Park Cancer Institute and health authorities in Ireland collaborated on the project that assessed air samples from 128 "Irish pubs" in 15 countries in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.
In March of 2003, the Republic of Ireland banned smoking in all workplaces including restaurants and Public Houses (pubs) which serve food and drink. Air quality measurements were conducted before and after the ban in Dublin and Galway pubs, showing a dramatic decrease in respirable particles (RSP or PM2.5).
Ireland became the first nation to adopt such a comprehensive policy on secondhand smoke and other countries and US states have followed including Norway (June, 2004), Sweden (July, 2005), Italy and Malta and New York, Delaware, Maine, California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The Irish pub is a ubiquitous international Icon for good times, drink and food and now for good health in the mother country. Virtually, every major city in the world has an Irish pub and the irony is for many Irish Pubs only those in Ireland have clean healthy air.
"The study demonstrates that national and local smoking policies can dramatically improve indoor air quality," said HSPH's Gregory N. Connolly, who led the research team."There are no safe limits to secondhand smoke, and simply segregating smokers and non-smokers in indoor spaces is of no use. Ireland has shown the way for nations to protect all their citizens from a preventable cause of death and disease."
Connolly is Professor of the Practice of Public Health and director of the Tobacco Control Research Program at HSPH. Co-investigators on the Irish pubs survey included: Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y.; Environmental Health Department, Galway, Ireland; Office for Tobacco Control (Ireland) and the Research Institute for a Tobacco Free Society (Ireland).
Connolly continued: "Although many nations pass laws on secondhand smoke, some do not implement them. Ireland has clearly shown that an indoor smoking ban can be accomplished through education, enforcement and political will. While people are celebrating St. Patrick's Day across the globe, some will celebrate in healthy environments and others in not-so-healthy environments. It's time we made secondhand smoke global history."
Testing sites included 41smoke-free Irish pubs in Ireland,
the U.S. and Canada and 87 smoking-permitted Irish pubs located in Armenia,
Australia, Belgium, China, Germany, Greece, France, Lebanon, Northern
Ireland, Poland, Romania, U.S. and England.
Irish pubs were defined as those that served Irish beer on tap and had an Irish name (e.g. Murphy's, O'Donnell's) or a visible statement that the venue was an Irish pub.
Kang from the Chinese Center for Disease control and Prevention at "Dirty Nellies" Irish Pub in Beijing, China
Air quality assessment in Irish pubs found a dramatic reduction in the presence of respirable suspended particles (RSPs) of which secondhand smoke is a major source. A specific class of RSPs known as PM2.5, particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter, is composed of extremely small particles that can be inhaled deeply into the lung and pose dangerous health effects. In order to protect public health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set limits of 15µg/m3 as the average allowable annual exposure level and 65 µg/m3for any 24-hour exposure.
Among the Irish pubs surveyed, the PM2.5 level averaged 23 µg/m3 for smoke-free pubs while averaging 340 µg/m3 for pubs where smoking was permitted. The highest average level of small particle pollution was found in an Irish pub in Lyon, France where the air held 1051 µg/m3. Notably high levels were also measured in Irish pubs in Hoboken, N.J.; Charleroi, Belgium; Athens, Greece; Beirut, Lebanon and Torun, Poland. Two Irish pubs in Hartford, Conn. had the lowest average particle pollution of the more than 100 pubs sampled, 3 µg/m3.
Many US states and foreign countries have implemented policies for smoke-free workplaces including restaurants and pubs. The countries that currently have indoor smoking bans that cover pubs include: Ireland, Bhutan, Malta, Norway, Sweden, Italy, New Zealand and most recently, England (effective 2007), Scotland (upcoming), Northern Ireland (effective 2007) and Uruguay. US states with smoke-free laws in workplaces including pubs are: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Montana (2009), New Jersey (April, 2006), New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Utah (2009), Vermont, Washington. Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico have also passed such laws. The Washington, D.C. law will extend to cover bars in January, 2007. Many US states have adopted local smoke-free laws. As of January 2006, 28 percent of the US population was covered by local or state-wide smoke-free bar laws, and almost 40 percent of the population was covered by any smoke-free law (i.e. workplace, restaurant, bar).