Disparity and Trends in Secondhand Smoke Exposure among Japanese Employees, Particularly Smokers vs. Non-Smokers.
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BACKGROUND: Monitoring disparities in secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure is important for tailoring smoke-free policies to the needs of different groups. We examined disparity and trends in SHS exposure among both nonsmokers and smokers at Japanese workplaces between 2002 and 2012. METHODS: A total of 32,940 employees in nationally representative, population-based, repeated cross-sectional surveys in 2002, 2007 and 2012 in Japan was analyzed. Adjusted rate ratios for workplace SHS exposure from other people ("everyday" and "everyday or sometimes") were calculated according to covariates, using log-binomial regression models with survey weights. In this survey, employees who do not smoke at workplace are defined as workplace-nonsmokers; and those smoke at workplace are used as workplace-smokers. SHS exposure for smokers does not involve their own SHS. RESULTS: While everyday SHS exposure prevalence in workplace-nonsmokers decreased markedly (33.2% to 11.4%), that in workplace-smokers decreased only slightly (63.3% to 55.6%). Workplace-smokers were significantly more likely to report everyday SHS exposure than workplace-nonsmokers, and the degree of association increased over time: compared with the nonsmokers (reference), covariates-adjusted rate ratio (95% confidence interval) for the smokers increased from 1.70 (1.62-1.77) in 2002 to 4.16 (3.79-4.56) in 2012. Similar results were observed for everyday or sometimes SHS exposure. Compared with complete workplace smoking bans, partial and no bans were consistently and significantly associated with high SHS exposure among both nonsmokers and smokers. We also observed disparities in SHS exposure by employee characteristics, such as age group and worksite scale. CONCLUSIONS: Although overall SHS exposure decreased among Japanese employees between 2002 and 2012, the SHS exposure disparity between nonsmokers and smokers widened. Because smokers reported more frequent SHS exposure than nonsmokers, subsequent mortality due to SHS exposure may be higher in smokers than in nonsmokers. This information may be useful for advocating workplace smoke-free policies.