HATLAS: Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke at open and semi-open spaces

There are discrepancies about whether to allow or not smoking in certain outdoor places. Those who oppose to such a ban argue that it is ethically untenable and that there is insufficient evidence that second-hand smoke (SHS) in these areas have a real impact on health to justify this regulation. However, scientific evidence suggests that there is no safe level of exposure to SHS. Therefore, the ones who agree with the regulation argue that if smoking is not prohibited in some outdoor areas, non-smokers could be exposed to higher SHS levels than those indoors where smoking is not allowed.

Overall objective
To describe the exposure to SHS in different outdoor places, such as open or semi-open areas next to indoor places where smoking is not permitted (e.g., entrances of buildings, terraces of bars and restaurants) and other open or semi-open areas where the current Spanish legislation (and the ones of other European Union countries) allows smoking.

Cross-sectional study of a sample of open or semi-open places (for partial coverage), where smoking is not prohibited in accordance with Law 42/2010. The sample includes entrances to public buildings (n = 50), terraces of bars and restaurants (n = 50), public transportation stops (buses, n = 50), school sport facilities and sports facilities (football pitches and sport centres, athletics stadiums; n = 20) and other complexes (open or semi-open shopping centres, markets, flea markets, etc.; n = 10).

2012-2014 (extended until 2015). Currently in the phase of data analysis and publication of results.

Financial support
Grant PI11-02054 (56,265.00 €, in three annual payments) from the Health Research Fund of the Institute of Health Carlos III (European Regional Development Fund, ERDF).

Research Team

Main results



Bachelor thesis (Biomedical Sciences, University of Barcelona)



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