Demou E, Dobson R, Sweeting H, Brown A, Sidwell S, O'Donnell R, Hunt K & Semple S (2020) Changes in exposure to second-hand smoke following a smoking ban across a national prison system. European Journal of Public Health, 30 (Supplement 5), Art. No.: ckaa165.1316. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckaa165.1316
Prisons were one of few workplaces where smoking was still
permitted after the smoking ban in indoor public places in
Scotland in 2006. This study compares SHS exposure
assessments in Scotland’s 15 prisons six months after smokefree policy was introduced (in Nov 2018) with levels measured
in 2016 before the policy was announced.
In 2016, 128,431 mins of PM2.5 (marker of SHS) concentration data were collected from residential halls and 2,860 mins
for ’task-based’ measures; 2019 figures were 126,777 and 3,073
mins. Six days of fixed-site monitoring in halls in each prison
commenced on 22.5.19. Task-based measurements were
conducted to assess SHS for specific locations and activities
(e.g. cell searches). Typical daily PM2.5 exposure profiles were
constructed for the prison service and time-weighted average
exposure concentrations were estimated for shift patterns for
residential staff pre- and post-implementation of the policy.
Staff self-reports of exposure to SHS were gathered via surveys.
Measured PM2.5 in residential halls declined markedly;
median fixed-site concentrations reduced by > 91% compared
to baseline. Changes in the task-based measurements (89%
average decrease for high-exposure tasks) and time-weighted
average concentrations across shifts (>90% decrease across all
shifts), provide evidence that staff exposure to SHS has
significantly reduced. The percentage of staff reporting no
exposure to SHS rose post-ban.
This is the first study to objectively measure SHS levels before,
during and after implementation of smokefree policy across a
country’s prison system. The dramatic reduction in SHS
exposures confirm complementary qualitative data and
stakeholder reports of the ban’s success in removing tobacco.
The findings show that SHS can be effectively eliminated
through a well-applied smoking ban in the challenging context
of prisons; and are highly relevant for other jurisdictions
considering changes to prison smoking rules.
Public Health; Environmental and Occupational Health
European Journal of Public Health: Volume 30, Issue Supplement 5