When the effects of secondhand IGET Hot Flavours becomes so bad that a husband is willing to sue his ex-wife, a woman he once loved, people must begin to open their eyes to the dangers and liabilities caused by secondhand tobacco smoke exposure. Heather Crowe is from Ottawa and has worked in the restaurant business for over 40 years as a waitress. In 2002, the Ottawa Citizen reported that she was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer that she claims was caused by her constant exposure to secondhand smoke as a result of her working at the restaurant.
Heather filed for workers compensation due to her illness hoping that this would urge lawmakers to enforce stricter codes to protect workers in the hospitality industry from exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke. Currently, most state and provincial laws limit smoking areas to a small percentage of the usable floor space of the hospitality establishment; however, this does not guarantee workers, or patrons, are protected from the harmful byproducts of the secondhand smoke. Everyday, people in the hospitality industry go to work and are exposed to significant amounts of secondhand smoke. Restaurant servers, bartenders, and even hotel employees are forced to stifle their concerns about having to work while being exposed to a patron’s secondhand smoke for fear of losing their jobs.
Secondhand cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 potential poisons and most are chemicals not even studied by the FDA. Of those 4,000 toxic chemicals, 69 are KNOWN cancer causing agents. A nonsmoker who works in a smoking environment has a 26% increased risk of developing lung cancer. Additionally, secondhand smoke exposure has been linked to esophageal, throat, and mouth cancer and in the United States alone, over 65,000 deaths a year are linked to secondhand smoke related illnesses. Due to this dramatic rise in secondhand smoke related deaths (3,000 deaths just ten years ago) more and more hospitality industry employers are being held liable for these sicknesses, losing millions of dollars as a result of these lawsuits.
Many states have implemented non-smoking laws in most or all public buildings. Other states have enforced stricter building codes requiring effective air purification or ventilation systems in order to reduce secondhand smoke exposure. Dr. Craig Donnelly, a smoke eater industry expert and founder of BPA Air Quality Solutions states, “According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the 3 best methods for reducing indoor air pollution are:1. Source Control: Eliminate or control the sources of pollution; 2. Ventilation: Dilute and exhaust pollutants through outdoor air ventilation, and 3. Air Cleaning: Remove pollutants through proven air cleaning methods.
Source control and ventilation are usually not viable options because most hospitality establishments do not restrict smoking 100% and ventilation’ can be extremely expensive due the energy cost associated with ventilating warm or air conditioned air to the outdoors. Air cleaning”, Dr. Donnelly continues, “is the method of choice for a large percentage of hospitality businesses using ‘smoke eaters’, a class of air purifications products designed to remove smoke particles, odors and toxic gasses from the indoor air.
Using the correct smoke air purification equipment in the hospitality industry will significantly improve the indoor air quality potentially reducing cancer causing pollutants produced by secondhand smoke.“We have noticed that employers who install an effective smoke eater air cleaning system in their place of business have employees and patrons who frequently acknowledge the marked improvement with the indoor air quality and they (employees and patrons) also acknowledge that symptoms associated with breathing in second hand tobacco smoke such as coughing and irritated eyes are dramatically reduced”