Exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) among non-smokers varied within and between countries of the European Union. In total, 29.0% (95% CI: 28.0%-30.0%) of all non-smoking respondents reported being exposed to SHS in one or more indoor areas. By type of indoor area, SHS exposure was highest in bars (25.3%), followed by restaurants (12.7%), while among people who worked indoors SHS exposure in the workplace was 24.4%.
Males (OR 1.43 95% CI: 1.25-1.63 in bars, OR 1.24 95% CI: 1.07-1.45 in resturants, OR 1.92 95% CI: 1.62-2.26 in workplaces), young adults and individuals with financial difficulties were more likely to report exposure to secondhand smoke. The likelihood of SHS exposure in bars was higher among younger respondents, the odds ratios being 1.42, 1.77, and 3.25 among 40-54; 25-39; and 15-24 years old respectively when compared to those aged 55+ years (all p<0.05). Similarly, the OR of exposure to SHS in restaurants for 15-24 year olds compared to 55+ year olds was 1.53 (p<0.05).
THE ROLE OF ENFORCEMENT
The extent and enforcement of smoke-free legislation were inversely associated with SHS exposure, highlighting the need for comprehensive smoking bans in all European countries. For every 5% increase in smoking prevalence among Member States, the odds of exposure to SHS exposure increased significantly by 59% in bars and 94% in a restaurant. Similarly, for every unit increase for the individual Member State’s score on the Smokefree component of the Tobacco Control Scale, the odds ratio of SHS exposure was 0.82 in bars, 0.85 in a restaurant, and 0.94 at workplaces