Secondhand Smoke: Pretty Gross, Wash U Study Finds

A study released today by Washington University found that bars and restaurants that allow smoking expose patrons and employees to all of nicotine's nasty effects.

Well, duh.

Genuinely surprising, though, was the finding that ventilation systems like Smokeeters appeared to make the problem worse.

They tested ten area bars and ten restaurants -- 16 allowed smoking and four didn't. Devices collected ambient nicotine, and 78 employees provided hair samples and answered survey questions.

Everyone's hair -- even that of nonsmokers at nonsmoking venues -- tested positive for nicotine, though it was higher for smokers. All the establishments had some nicotine detected, but ones that allow smoking had, on average, 31 percent more nicotine.

And restaurants and bars that had ventilation devices at work were discovered to have more nicotine in the air than spots without ventilation but similar concentrations of people smoking.

The employees responding to the survey said they'd be more likely to quit if they couldn't smoke at work, or to stay off the butts if they'd already quit.

The study was founded by the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation, with collaboration from The Institute for Global Tobacco Control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.