Carcinogens Found in Nonsmoking Workers Exposed to Secondhand Smoke in Oregon Bars and Restaurants Exempt from Clean Air Laws

Researchers at the Multnomah County Health Department in Portland, Ore., examined the prevalence of NNK, a known carcinogen associated solely with tobacco, among nonsmoking Oregon bar and restaurant workers in establishments where smoking was permitted and in those where it was prohibited.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national Substance Abuse Policy Research Program (SAPRP).

Key Findings

  • People exposed to workplace secondhand smoke had almost six times the odds of having NNK in their urine than unexposed workers.
  • Exposure to workplace secondhand smoke was associated with nearly three times greater increase in the level of NNK in urine.
  • Each hour of exposure to secondhand smoke at work was associated with about a six percent increase in the level of urinary NNK.