Evaluation of second-hand smoke levels in mental health inpatients units

Evaluation of second hand smoke levels according to the strictness of the smoking ban implemented in mental health inpatient units and opinion of employees and patients.


Smoking prevalence can reach 80% among the patients admitted to mental health units and they could die 25-30 years earlier on average than the general population, often due to the diseases or aggravated by smoking. Nevertheless, tobacco control in mental health centers has usually been ignored. Even when smoking regulations prohibiting smoking in workplaces, health centers and other public places have been introduced, these have been more permissive, with inpatient mental health units allowing them to smoke inside.


To assess the levels of sexond-hand smoke in the inpatient mental health units of Catalonia according to the type of smoking ban.

To compare employee and patient perception of the level of exposure to second-hand smoke with the results obtained by objective measurements and to describe the preference for different types of smoking ban.


Cross-sectional study. The levels of second-hand smoke in mental health units in Catalonia (n = 64) were measured using PM2.5 as an objective marker of second-hand smoke (air concentrations of particulate matter <2.5 micrometers). At the same time, a survey was administered to the patients and the professionals of those 64 units (n=600 and n=575, respectively) regarding perceived exposure to tobacco smoke and about preferences for different types of smoking ban in mental health facilities.


Financial Support

This Project was financed be the Red Temática de Investigación Corporativa en Cáncer [RD12/0036/0053] of the Health Institute of Carlos III, Spanish Government; by the Ministry of Education, Universitites and Research [2009SGR192]; and by the Public Health Agency of Catalonia of the Generalitat de Catalunya [GFH 20051].

Research Team

Main results


  1. Ballbè M, Sureda X, Martínez-Sánchez JM, Saltó E, Gual A, Fernández E. Second-hand smoke in mental healthcare Settings: time to implement total smoke-free bans? International Journal of Epidemiology 2013; 42(3):886-893
  2. Ballbè M, Sureda X, Martínez-Sánchez JM, Fu M, Saltó E, Gual A, Fernández E. Second-hand smoke in psychiatric units: patient and staff misperceptions. Tobacco Control; 2015; 24(e3):e2012-20

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