Smoke travels to nonsmoking hotel rooms in hotels

Smoke travels to nonsmoking hotel rooms in hotels

Ever walked into a “non-smoking” hotel room and smelt that disgusting reek of cigarettes?  Yeah, me too…

A new study has confirmed what we all know to be true.  When a hotel allows smoking in any of its rooms, the smoke gets into ALL of the rooms.

“Nicotine residues and other chemical traces don’t stay in the smoking rooms.  They end up in the hallways and in other rooms, including non-smoking rooms.  Third-hand smoke contains many of the same toxins we find in second-hand smoke.  When the smoke disappears, the danger does not end.  Some non-smoking guest rooms in smoking hotels are as polluted with third-hand smoke as are some smoking rooms.  Moreover, non-smoking guests staying in smoking rooms may be exposed to tobacco smoke pollutants at levels found among non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke.  Designated smoking rooms are highly polluted with third-hand smoke and lead to tobacco smoke exposure, including exposure to the potent tobacco-specific lung carcinogen NNK (assessed through measuring its metabolite NNAL in urine).  Hotels with a partial smoking ban did not protect the occupants of non-smoking rooms from exposure to tobacco pollution.  Guests who wish to protect themselves from exposure to tobacco smoke should avoid hotels that permit smoking and instead stay in completely smoke-free hotels.
Dr Georg Matt, PhD, professor of psychology, San Diego State University, in Tobacco Control, 2013

Over 30 California hotels were tested and smoke residue was found on surfaces (‘cancer causing’ or ‘carcinogenic’) and in the air (carcinogenic) in both smoking and non-smoking rooms.  Levels in “non-smoking” rooms were much higher than those found at 10 other smoke-free hotels.

So, in “non-smoking” hotel rooms you find:

  • Toxic smoke residue on the surfaces were more than twice as high in nonsmoking rooms of hotels with partial bans as in rooms with total bans (3.7 mcg/m2 compared with 1.4 mcg/m2, P= 0.048).
  • Smoking residue as air nicotine levels were 40% greater in non-smoking rooms of hotels than in those with complete smoking bans
    Air levels of the tobacco byproduct 3-ethynylpyridine (3EP) were more than seven times higher in nonsmoking guest rooms in hotels where smoking was permitted than in rooms in smoke-free hotels (6.4 ng/m3 versus 0.8 ng/m3; P=0.049)
  • Sticky nicotine found on the fingers of guests
  • Second-hand smoke seeping under doorways and moving through ventilation systems
  • Surface and air nicotine levels in rooms where previous guests had smoked were 35 and 22 times higher than those of rooms in hotels with smoking bans
  • Widespread contamination with “third-hand smoke” (carcinogenic) pollutants left behind on furniture, drapes and carpets

The study makes it very clear that if you are interested in being healthy then always choose hotels with no smoking anywhere on the property.

Study by Dr Georg E. Matt, PhD, of San Diego State University in California (SDSU), et al “Thirdhand smoke and exposure in California hotels: non-smoking rooms fail to protect non-smoking hotel guests from tobacco smoke exposure” as published in the journal Tobacco Control on Monday 11 May, 2013; DOI: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2012-050824.  Matt and colleagues conducted air and surface tests in randomly selected rooms in 10 San Diego hotels with smoking bans and in 30 additional hotels that allowed smoking in some rooms.  Surfaces and air were analyzed for nicotine and 3EP, and nonsmoking study participants who stayed overnight in the hotels provided urine and finger wipe samples to determine exposure to nicotine and the tobacco-specific carcinogen 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone as measured by their metabolites cotinine NNAL, respectively.  This research was supported by funds from the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Grants Program Office of the University of California.  As reported by USA TODAY on May 13, 2013, Medical News Today on May 14, 2013 and by MedPage Today on May 15, 2013.

Posted: Monday 15 July 2013