Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 151–156 | Cite as

Secondhand smoke exposure in bars and restaurants in Guatemala City: before and after smoking ban evaluation

  • Joaquin BarnoyaEmail author
  • Mariel Arvizu
  • Miranda R. Jones
  • Juan C. Hernandez
  • Patrick N. Breysse
  • Ana Navas-Acien
Brief report



In February 2009, Guatemala implemented a comprehensive smoking ban. We assessed air nicotine levels in bars and restaurants 6 months after the ban (post-ban) and compared them with levels found in 2006 (pre-ban).


Exposure was estimated by passive sampling of vapor-phase nicotine using samplers (n = 50) placed for 7 working days in 10 bars and 11 restaurants in Guatemala City. Air nicotine was measured by gas chromatography, and the time-weighted average concentration in μg/m3 was estimated. Employees answered a survey about smoke-free workplaces (n = 32) and compared with pre-ban (n = 37) results.


Nicotine was detectable in all bars pre- and post-ban. In restaurants, it was detectable in all pre- and 73% post-ban. Median nicotine concentrations in bars significantly decreased from 4.58 μg/m3 (IQR, 1.71, 6.45) pre-ban to 0.28 μg/m3 (IQR 0.17, 0.66) post-ban (87% decrease). In restaurants, concentrations significantly decreased from 0.58 μg/m3 (IQR, 0.44, 0.71) to 0.04 μg/m3 (IQR 0.01, 0.11) (95% decrease). Employees’ support for a smoke-free workplace increased in the post-ban survey (from 32 to 81%, p < 0.001).


Six months after the implementation of a smoke-free law in Guatemala, nicotine levels were significantly decreased in bars and restaurants and workers’ support for the law substantially increased.


Tobacco Tobacco smoke pollution Smoke-free environments Environmental pollution 



Financial support: Funded by the Cardiovascular Unit of Guatemala (UNICAR) with additional support from the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute (FAMRI).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joaquin Barnoya
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
    Email author
  • Mariel Arvizu
    • 1
  • Miranda R. Jones
    • 3
    • 4
  • Juan C. Hernandez
    • 1
  • Patrick N. Breysse
    • 3
    • 5
  • Ana Navas-Acien
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Cardiovascular Unit of GuatemalaGuatemala CityGuatemala
  2. 2.Department of Surgery Prevention and ControlWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA
  3. 3.Department of EpidemiologyJohns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Department of Environmental Health SciencesJohns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  5. 5.Institute for Global Tobacco ControlJohns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  6. 6.GuatemalaGuatemala

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