Measuring nicotine in ambient air to support expansion of smoke-free public places in Kiribati
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World Health Organization, Regional Office for Western Pacific, Manila, Philippines
Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Tarawa, Kiribati
Publication date: 2021-09-02
Corresponding author
Ada Moadsiri   

World Health Organization, Regional Office for Western Pacific, Manila, Philippines
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2021;19(Suppl 1):A49
Kiribati is a Pacific island which has smoke-free health care facilities, government facilities, indoor offices by law. However, restaurants, cafes, pubs, and bars are not yet entirely smoke-free.

To measure nicotine in ambient air in and near public places not yet smoke-free by law to provide evidence that smoke-free legislation protects the public from dangerous chemicals in tobacco as measured by nicotine.

Second-hand smoke was estimated by passive sampling of vapor-phase nicotine using a filter badge treated with sodium bisulfate. These nicotine monitors were placed in various indoor and adjacent outdoor areas of five different restaurants, bars, and shops selling tobacco for 7 days. A control monitor was placed inside a health office where smoking is banned.

The mean nicotine concentration was 2.14 μg/m3 and 0.18 μg/m3 in indoor and adjacent outdoor areas respectively while the nicotine concentration in the control monitor was 0.08 μg/m3. The highest concentration was measured inside a small tobacco retail shop (11.68 μg/m^3). The nicotine concentration in the smoking area and non-smoking area in one bar where a voluntary rule was in place was 0.24 μg/m3 and 0.71 μg/m3 respectively.

The results indicate that the public is exposed to nicotine even in outdoor adjacent areas of public places not yet covered by smoke-free laws. The results support the notion that voluntary indoor non-smoking areas do not protect patrons from the dangers of second-hand smoke and emphasize the need for legislation to cover all public places. Limitations of this study include the small sample size and the lack of qualitative data to identify the contributors toward the higher concentration of nicotine in indoor ambient air. In addition, some of the public places monitored are not fully enclosed; therefore, the nicotine concentration is likely to be influenced by wind and other environmental factors.

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