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Passive smoking at work: the short-term cost
  1. Sarah M McGhee,
  2. Pemane Adab,
  3. Anthony J Hedley,
  4. Tai Hing Lam,
  5. Lai Ming Ho,
  6. Richard Fielding,
  7. Chit Ming Wong
  1. Department of Community Medicine, University of Hong Kong, 7 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
  1. Dr McGhee (smmcghee{at}


STUDY OBJECTIVE To estimate the impact of passive smoking at work on use of health care services and absenteeism.

DESIGN Cross sectional survey.

SETTING A workforce in Hong Kong.

PARTICIPANTS 5142 never-smoking police officers in a total sample of 9926.

MAIN RESULTS A consistently strong association was found among men between length of time exposed to passive smoking at work and self reported consultations with a doctor, use of medicines and time off work. Results for women were similar but most were not statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS The exposure of healthy adults to passive smoking at work is related to utilisation of health care services and extra time off work. This results in costs to the health services, to employers and to those exposed.

  • passive smoking
  • absenteeism

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  • Funding: Hong Kong Police.

  • Conflicts of interest: AJH is chairman of the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (COSH); THL is a member of the COSH research committee. PA is a member of People Acting for a Smokeless Society (PASS), Hong Kong.