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Personal Vehicle Secondhand Smoke Exposure for Various Ventilation Modes

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Objectives: In this study we measured secondhand smoke (SHS) particulate concentrations under a variety of driving conditions to document exposure levels in a smoking-permitted vehicle. Methods: We conducted 46 unique trials for each of 3 vehicle types, including 2 driving speeds, 4 window positions, and multiple ventilation configurations. The monitoring included continuous photometer measurements of fine particles (PM2.5) while a participant smoked one cigarette and drove until the SHS dissipated. Results: For trials with windows closed, the 30-second peak PM2.5 concentration ranged from 359 to 5612 with an average of 2013 μg/m3. After smoking stopped, it took between 4 and 25 minutes for the particulate level to decrease to the background level. The average SHS exposure was roughly equal to sitting in a typical smoky bar for 3 hours. Opening windows just 2 inches reduced exposure by almost a factor of 10 and fully opening at least one window reduced exposure by a factor of 34. Conclusions: The measurements highlight the importance of regulations to protect passengers from high SHS exposure that often occurs in vehicles. Only 8 US states have policies prohibiting smoking with youth in vehicles.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2017

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  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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