Een aantal journalisten van de Engelse Sunday Post zouden, naar aanleiding van de aankondiging van rookverboden in Engeland en Schotland, een avond de proef op de som gaan nemen. Gewapend met ultragevoelige meters bezochten ze een aantal pubs, waarbij ze er voor zorgden wel duidelijk rokerige pubs binnen te gaan. Na afloop van hun avondje stappen zou door een laboratorium hun speeksel geanalyseerd worden om te bepalen hoe hoog hun cotinineniveau (bijproduct van de afbraak van nicotine) was geworden door hun uitstapje…
Wie schetst de verbazing van de verslaggevers als de meters niets noemenswaard aantonen? En de anti’s kunnen alleen maar stotteren: “Er is geen veilig niveau van omgevingsrook”.
Perhaps the atmosphere in a real “man’s pub” would get results. Tamsons Bar on Easter Road was heaving with football fans watching a game on TV — and just about everyone was smoking. But unfortunately for us, they’d also flung the doors open to let the fug escape.
At half-time Steven took a reading. He’d gone from one light to three. I went from two to four but, according to the literature, we still weren’t smoking — not even passively.
Further up Easter Road, we spotted another traditional pub — the Cooper’s Rest. And the doors were closed, so no draughts to clear away any smoke.
A ginger beer and a pint of blackcurrant and soda later, we took another reading, confident that the cumulative effect of four hours of cigarette exposure would give a different result.
It did. Incredibly Steven’s went back down to just one light, and mine was lower than when we started the experiment!
Before parting we took our “after” mouth swabs, sealed them, and posted these and the “before” containers to the lab. At least they should give a more scientific reading.
Analysis of our saliva would show how much cotinine — a by-product of nicotine — had entered our system.
A few days later the results came back. After four hours of heavy breathing in three smoke-filled hostelries, the tests revealed we’d had the equivalent of half a cigarette — between us.
The figures mean that for staff employed in pubs like those we visited, after working eight hours a day, five days a week, they would have passively smoked the equivalent of two and a half cigarettes.
Is this enough to justify the all-out ban on smoking in public places in Scotland?