Non-Smoking Hotel Rooms Still Expose You to Health Risks

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If you've ever walked into a non-smoking hotel room and been greeted with the faint odor of cigarette smoke, you're not alone.

A new study published in the journal Tobacco Control found that non-smoking hotel rooms can indeed house traces of nicotine that filter in from surrounding smoking rooms.

For the study, researchers used 30 hotels that operate partial smoking bans by offering non-smoking rooms and 10 hotels that operate complete bans - where no smoking is allowed at all. Non-smoking study participants spent the night in the hotels and then provided urine and finger swipe samples to determine how much nicotine they were exposed to during their stay.

Pollution problems

Hotels with partial smoking bans showed disturbing results: these establishments were found to have polluted air in both smoking and non-smoking rooms, subjecting non-smokers to cancer-causing nicotine. In fact, surface levels of nicotine in non-smoking rooms of hotels with partial bans was more than twice as high as they were in hotels with complete bans on smoking.

And the participants who stayed in non-smoking rooms at smoking hotels also showed higher levels of nicotine in their finger swipe samples and urine than those who stayed in non-smoking hotels.

In rooms where a previous guest had smoked, surface and air nicotine levels were also 35 and 22 times higher, respectively, than they were in hotels with complete smoking bans.

"Our findings demonstrate that some non-smoking guest rooms in smoking hotels are as polluted with [third hand smoke] as are some smoking rooms," the authors wrote.

Opt for smoke-free hotels

Even more disturbing is that non-smokers who stay in smoking rooms are being exposed to levels of nicotine comparable to people that have been exposed directly to second-hand smoke.

And while entirely smoke-free hotels are rare across the globe, the researchers said that for the health of both employees and guests, establishments should move toward operating complete smoking bans.

"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," the researchers concluded.

Source: Science Daily

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