Bar workers in Scotland have benefited from improved health since the introduction of a smoking ban in all enclosed public places earlier this year, a medical study has found.
Researchers at Dundee University found significant health improvements in the first two months after the March ban.
The results have led to calls for the UK government to speed up the introduction of a similar ban south of the border.
The research team began testing bar workers in February, a month before the ban came into force. Using a series of indicators, they established symptoms attributable to passive smoking, measuring lung function and inflammation in the bloodstream.
They then tested volunteers a month later and again in May. The researchers backed up anecdotal evidence of a general feeling of wellbeing by scientifically establishing significant improvements in people’s health.
In the two months following the introduction of the ban, the number of workers who showed smoke-related symptoms fell from more than 80% to less than 50%.
The team also recorded reductions in levels of nicotine in the bloodstream and breathing tests showed improvements in lung function of as much as 10%.
However, smokers’ rights group Forest, still insisted that the link between passive smoking and ill health had not been proven.
Following the results of the study, the British Heart Foundation has called on the government to name a precise date for the introduction of a ban on smoking in enclosed public places in England.