Government Report Cites ASHRAE Position on Environmental Tobacco Smoke


A newly released report from the U.S. Surgeon General echoes ASHRAE’s position that adverse health effects related to tobacco smoke cannot be eliminated through filtration or ventilation.

In its position document published last year, ASHRAE determined that although complete separation and isolation of smoking rooms can control environmental tobacco smoke exposure in nonsmoking spaces in the same building, adverse health effects for the occupants of smoking areas cannot be controlled by ventilation.

“ASHRAE’s position is that the only way to effectively eliminate health risk associated with indoor exposure is to ban smoking activity,” Terry Townsend, P.E., ASHRAE president, said. “ASHRAE is pleased that our position was recognized by the U.S. government.”

Findings from ASHRAE’s Environmental Tobacco Smoke Position Document as well as guidance from ASHRAE’s indoor air quality standard and ASHRAE Journal and Transactions articles are referenced in the report The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke.

The U.S. Surgeon General report reaches six conclusions, including the fact that “eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposures of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke.”

The supporting evidence for that conclusion notes, “ASHRAE, the preeminent U.S. body on ventilation issues, has concluded that ventilation technology cannot be relied on to control health risk from secondhand smoke exposure.”

To obtain a free copy of the ASHRAE position document, visit .

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