Smoking Ban Proves Beneficial


Indoor Air Pollution Drops 86 Percent Following Implementation of Delaware County Ordinance

MUNCIE, Ind. – A new study indicates that workers are breathing easier, as bars have dramatically lower levels of indoor air pollution now than before Delaware County’s comprehensive smoke free air ordinance was adopted.

In Delaware County, the decline proved dramatic as the level of fine particulate indoor air pollution dropped 86% percent after the local ordinance went into effect.

The announcement was made jointly by the Tobacco Free Coalition of Delaware County and Ball State University’s Department of Physiology and Health Science, in cooperation with the Delaware County Health Department.

The study, conducted in August and October 2011 through Ball State University by professors Dr. Jeffrey Clark and Dr. Martin Wood, used state-of-the-art air pollution monitors to measure the levels of fine particulate air pollution in 10 bars throughout Delaware County. Each location was tested both before and after the August 11, 2011 enactment of an ordinance requiring all public places and workplaces, including bars, to be smoke free. Compliance with the law in all 10 venues was 100 percent and no smoking was observed in any location after the law went into effect.

“What we see in this study is that, before the ordinance, workers were exposed to harmful levels of secondhand smoke,” said Dr. Martin Wood, professor at Ball State University and co-author of the study. “With the enactment of the ordinance, air quality has significantly improved, which will protect the health of both workers and patrons.”

The average level of indoor air pollution in Delaware County hospitality venues that allowed smoking before the law was 154.14 ug/m3.  Those levels are over four times higher than the 24-hour limit of 35 ug/m3 recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The concentration of fine particle air pollution, PM 2.5, was measured using a TSI SidePak AM510 Personal Aerosol Monitor. PM 2.5 is particulate matter in the air smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter. Particles of this size are released in significant amounts from burning cigarettes, are easily inhaled deep into the lungs, and cause a variety of adverse health effects including cardiovascular and respiratory morbidity and death.

The newly-released results are in contrast to the situation that existed in Delaware County prior to adoption of the ordinance.

“This study reinforces what we know to be true: Smoking is a source of indoor air pollution and Delaware County’s comprehensive smoke-free air ordinance is making the air in workplaces and public places safer for everyone to breathe,” said Joshua Williams, administrator for the Delaware County Health Department.

Rachel Buckman with the Tobacco Free Coalition of Delaware County agrees that this is a step in the right direction to protecting the health of workers in Delaware County.

“Many hospitality workers don’t have health insurance or paid sick time. If they get sick, they not only lose part of their paycheck, but they end up putting out more in health care costs or avoid treatment because they can’t afford it. This study shows that we have a way to help prevent illness by eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke, in turn helping limit future health care burdens on workers.”

A full copy of the study can be found online at

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Dean Baker

Dean Baker is a macroeconomist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. He previously worked as a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and an assistant professor at Bucknell University.

One Comment

  1. Healthier indoor air is important – especially for those who are susceptible to breathing ailments, colds, viruses and bacteria. Many times it’s the imbalance between the negative and positive ions found in all home environments, particularly where homes or buildings are insulated to save energy or winter cold.

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