Second-hand smoke in hospitals in Catalonia (2009): A cross-sectional study measuring PM2.5 and vapor-phase nicotine

Xisca Sureda, Marcela Fu, María José López, Jose M. Martínez-Sánchez, Esther Carabasa, Esteve Saltó, Cristina Martínez, Manel Nebot, Esteve Fernández

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objectives: To describe second-hand smoke in the hospitals of the Catalan Network for Smoke-free Hospitals using Particulate Matter (PM2.5) and to assess the association between second-hand smoke exposure in main entrances (outdoors) and halls and between PM2.5 and airborne nicotine concentrations. Methods: Cross-sectional study carried out in 2009 in the 53 hospitals affiliated with the network. We measured PM2.5 (γg/m3) in all hospitals and measured airborne nicotine concentrations (γg/m3) in a subsample of 11 hospitals. For each assessment, we measured nine locations within the hospitals, computing medians, means, geometric means, interquartile ranges (IQRs), and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of the means and the geometric means. Further, we used Spearman's linear correlation coefficient rsp) to explore the association between PM2.5 concentrations in halls and main entrances and between PM2.5 and nicotine concentrations. Results: The overall median of the 429 PM2.5 measurements was 12.48γg/m3 (IQR: 8.84-19.76γg/m3). The most exposed locations were outdoor smoking points (16.64γg/m3), cafeterias (14.82γg/m3), and main entrances (14.04γg/m3); dressing rooms were the least exposed (6.76γg/m3). PM2.5 concentrations in halls were positively correlated with those in main entrances (rsp=0.591, 95% CI: 0.377-0.745), as were PM2.5 values and nicotine concentrations (rsp=0.644, 95% CI: 0.357-0.820). Conclusions: Second-hand smoke levels in hospitals were low in most locations, with the highest levels observed in outdoor locations where smoking is allowed (smoking points and entrances). Smoking in main entrances was associated with increased second-hand smoke levels in halls. Use of PM2.5 to evaluate second-hand smoke is feasible and shows a good correlation with airborne nicotine values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)750-755
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Airborne nicotine
  • Hospitals
  • Particulate matter
  • Second-hand smoke
  • Tobacco smoke pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Biochemistry


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