Characterising the exposure of prison staff to second-hand tobacco smoke

Semple, S., Sweeting, H. , Demou, E. , Logan, G. , O'Donnell, R. and Hunt, K. (2017) Characterising the exposure of prison staff to second-hand tobacco smoke. Annals of Work Exposures and Health, 61(7), pp. 809-821. (doi: 10.1093/annweh/wxx058) (PMID:28810685) (PMCID:PMC6684365)

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Second-hand tobacco smoke (SHS) is an avoidable and harmful exposure in the workplace but >25000 prison staff continue to be exposed on a daily basis in the UK and many more worldwide. SHS exposures in prisons are incompletely understood but may be considerable given the large proportion of smoking prisoners and limited ventilation. This study characterized the exposure of prison staff to SHS in all 15 prisons in Scotland using multiple methods. Exposure assessment strategies included 6-day area measurement of fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) and airborne nicotine in each prison together with short (30-minute) measurements of PM2.5 covering a range of locations/activities. Pre- and post-shift saliva samples were also gathered from non-smoking staff and analysed for cotinine to estimate exposure. There was evidence of exposure to SHS in all prisons from the results of PM2.5 and nicotine measurements. The salivary cotinine results from a sub-sample of non-smoking workers indicated SHS exposures of similar magnitude to those provided by the 6-day area measurements of PM2.5. There was a high degree of exposure variability with some locations/activities involving exposure to SHS concentrations that were comparable to those measured in bars in Scotland prior to smoke-free legislation in 2006. The median shift exposure to SHS-PM2.5 was ~20 to 30 µg m−3 and is broadly similar to that experienced by someone living in a typical smoking home in Scotland. This is the most comprehensive assessment of prison workers’ exposure to SHS in the world. The results are highly relevant to the development of smoke-free policies in prisons and should be considered when deciding on the best approach to provide prison staff with a safe and healthy working environment.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Public Health Research Programme (project number 15/55/44). We are grateful to all the staff at the Scottish Prison Service and in HMP Kilmarnock and HMP Addiewell who assisted with this study. We are also extremely grateful to David Walker, Ruaraidh Dobson and Mrs Flora Buthlay for their help with data collection and retrieval of instruments from prisons, and to Dr Steve Turner for helpful comments on an earlier draft. KH, HS, GL, ED gratefully acknowledge core funding from UK MRC and Chief Scientist Office (MC_UU_12017/12; SPHSU12; MC/PC/13027 partnership grant) for their work within prison settings. We acknowledge the contribution of our co-investigators in the TIPs research team to the overall design of the TIPs study (Professor Linda Bauld, Dr Kathleen Boyd, Dr Philip Conaglen, Dr Peter Craig, Douglas Eadie, Professor Alastair Leyland, Professor Jill Pell).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hunt, Professor Kathryn and Logan, Dr Greig and Demou, Dr Evangelia and Sweeting, Dr Helen
Authors: Semple, S., Sweeting, H., Demou, E., Logan, G., O'Donnell, R., and Hunt, K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Annals of Work Exposures and Health
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):2398-7316
Published Online:16 July 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Annals of Work Exposures and Health 61(7):809-821
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727641Understanding and Improving Health within Settings and OrganisationsKathryn HuntMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/12HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
620221MRC SPHSU/GU Transfer FellowshipsLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_PC_13027IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU