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Tobacco free workplace policies and low socioeconomic status female bartenders in San Francisco
  1. Roland S Moore,
  2. Juliet P Lee,
  3. Tamar M J Antin,
  4. Scott E Martin
  1. Prevention Research Center, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Berkeley, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr R S Moore
 Prevention Research Center, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 1995 University Avenue, Suite 450, Berkeley, CA 94704 USA; roland{at}


Study objective: Multiple studies have found that, compared with employees in other settings, workers in bars and restaurants have been exposed to high levels of secondhand smoke, putting them at increased risk for health complications. Among these bar employees are many women of low socioeconomic status (SES). Smoke free workplace ordinances have been extended to bars and restaurants in cities and states throughout the USA; some bars, however, continue to be out of compliance with these laws. The objective of this study is to assess the relation between bartender gender and smoke free workplace compliance in bars.

Design: This paper reports on analyses of observational data on compliance with smoke free workplace policy in 121 randomly selected bars together with qualitative data from semi-structured interviews with bartenders and patrons in bars.

Setting: San Francisco County bars.

Main results: Findings from this research showed that smoke free policy non-compliance was associated with bars in which women were bartenders, increasing their tobacco exposure compared with male bartenders. In interviews, although some female bartenders expressed ambivalence toward the smoke free ordinance, many others described experiencing positive health and social consequences when the bars in which they worked could eliminate interior smoking.

Conclusions: The analyses presented here shed light on the benefits of improving the workplace environment for low SES female bartenders through the extension of strong smoke free workplace policies to all workplaces, including bars.

  • SES, socioeconomic status
  • ETS, environmental tobacco smoke
  • HLM, hierarchical linear modelling
  • tobacco control policy
  • smoke free workplace policy
  • women
  • bartenders
  • social class

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  • Funding: funding for data collection was provided by California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program grants 10RT-0276 and 12RT-0116 and for analysis by National Cancer Institute grant 1R01-CA100772-01A, both of which are gratefully acknowledged.

  • Competing interests: none.

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