Towards smoke-free cars in the Republic of Korea: Evidence from environmental and biochemical monitoring of thirdhand smoke exposure in taxis
Min Kyung Lim 1, 2  
Sun Yeol Hong 3
Jee Eun Oh 3
Bo Yoon Jeong 4
E Hwa Yun 1, 2
Wonho Yang 5
Do-Hoon Lee 3  
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Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Control Institute, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Republic of Korea
Department of Cancer Control and Population Health, Graduate School of Cancer Science and Policy, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Republic of Korea
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Center for Diagnostic Oncology, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Republic of Korea
Division of Health and Nutrition Survey, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Osong, Republic of Korea
Department of Occupational Health, Catholic University of Daegu, Daegu, Republic of Korea
Min Kyung Lim   

Graduate School of Cancer Science and Policy, and National Cancer Control Institute, National Cancer Center, 323 Ilsan-ro Ilsandonggu Goyang-si Gyeounggi-do 410-769, Republic of Korea
Do-Hoon Lee   

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Center for Diagnostic Oncology, National Cancer Center, 323 Ilsan-ro Ilsandong-gu Goyang-si Gyeounggi-do 410-769, Republic of Korea
Publish date: 2018-03-22
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(March):11
To evaluate the level of tobacco smoke exposure in taxis in Korea using tobacco specific environmental markers.

From June to September 2012, cross-sectional measurements of air nicotine levels and dust nicotine-derived nitrosamine ketone (NNK) concentrations were conducted in 17 taxis in Goyang, Korea. Field investigators completed an observational questionnaire on building characteristics, smoking policies and evidence of smoking. Descriptive statistics including geometric means (GMs) ± standard deviations were produced for air nicotine levels and dust NNK concentrations.

There was no evidence of active smoking in the 17 taxis monitored, despite the fact that 10 drivers were current smokers. The overall GMs of air nicotine and dust NNK concentration were 0.42 μg/m3 and 6.78 pg/mg, respectively. These levels were 3.4-fold and 2.6-fold higher in taxis whose drivers were current smokers compared to the taxis of nonsmokers (GM of air nicotine: 0.65 μg/m3 vs 0.19 μg/m3; GM of dust NNK: 10.07 pg/mg vs 3.85 pg/mg).

The present study shows that air nicotine and dust NNK were detected in all taxis regardless of whether the taxi driver was smoking or not, which indicates the potential for exposure to SHS or THS. It suggests that an appreciable level of SHS and TSH exposure might occur if the environment is not completely smoke-free and enforcement is lacking.

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