Occupational Exposure to Second-Hand Tobacco Smoke: Development of a Job Exposure Matrix


Exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke (SHS) in the workplace has been largely controlled in most workplaces in many countries that have adopted smoke-free laws and regulations. Workers in offices, bars, restaurants, and many other settings have experienced substantial reductions in the frequency and intensity of their exposure to SHS. While current exposure to SHS of most non-smoking adults arises from living with a smoker there are likely to be some jobs where non-negligible exposure to SHS continues to occur. This study describes the development of a simple job exposure matrix (JEM) for SHS exposure for the UK working population in 2020 and identifies that at least 1.04 million workers are likely to be exposed to SHS while performing their job. Occupations with the highest frequency and intensity of exposure include those where workers carry out work tasks in private, domestic settings: including care workers and home carers. This SHS-JEM provides a novel method for assessing occupational exposure to SHS in other countries, and can act as a tool to identify priorities for policies to protect those workers who continue to be at risk from SHS.

Authors: Ruaraidh Dobson, Evangelia Demou, Sean Semple
; Full Source: Annals of work exposures and health 2021 Apr 3;wxab019. doi: 10.1093/annweh/wxab019.