Studying the impact of clean indoor air law exemptions on nonsmoking workers

The Foundation's Substance Abuse Policy Research Program was designed to provide support for investigators to conduct policy research on a variety of subjects directed at helping the country reduce the harm caused by substance abuse.In spite of evidence showing the deleterious health consequences of exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace, the tobacco industry has successfully used state law to preempt the inclusion of bars and restaurants from local comprehensive clean indoor air ordinances. While statewide clean indoor air acts in both Washington and Oregon preempt the passage of more-stringent local clean indoor air ordinances, Oregon allowed previously enacted local ordinances prohibiting smoking in all indoor workplaces, including bars and restaurants with lounges, to remain in place. This grant supports a study that uses this unique situation to demonstrate the harmful effects of exemptions and preemption by measuring for the presence of a tobacco specific carcinogen (NNAL) in the urine samples of 180 nonsmoking bar and restaurant workers in Washington and Oregon. Urine samples will be compared to measure the differences in the presence of total NNAL and cotinine between participants with both exposure and no exposure at work, as well as to determine the change in levels of total NNAL for participants before and after working in a bar or restaurant that exposes them to secondhand smoke. The results of this study are expected to provide persuasive evidence to policy makers that clean indoor air exemptions and preemption should be eliminated to protect the health of nonsmoking employees. These data should be instrumental in garnering support for removing clean indoor air exemptions and in fighting or overturning preemption throughout the nation.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $99,996.00

Awarded on: 7/20/2004

Time frame: 8/1/2004 - 4/30/2006

Grant Number: 51714


Multnomah County Health Department

426 S.W. Stark Street, 8th Floor
Portland, 97204-2347


Michael J. Stark
Project Director