Article Text

Tobacco consumption and secondhand smoke exposure in vehicles: a cross-sectional study
  1. Ariadna Curto1,2,
  2. Jose M Martínez-Sánchez1,3,4,
  3. Esteve Fernández1,3,4
  1. 1Tobacco Control Unit, Cancer Control and Prevention Programme, Institut Català d'Oncologia-ICO, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain
  3. 3Cancer Control and Prevention Group, Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge-IDIBELL, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
  4. 4Department of Clinical Sciences, Universitat de Barcelona, Campus de Bellvitge, L'Hospitalet del Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jose M Martínez-Sánchez; jmmartinez{at}


Objectives To estimate the prevalence of tobacco consumption and secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure in private cars, commercial vehicles and taxis in the city of Barcelona in Spain.

Design setting and participants We carried out an observational cross-sectional study in 2011. We selected a systematic sample of 2442 private cars, commercial vehicles and taxis on 40 public roads regulated by traffic lights in all 10 districts of Barcelona. We calculated the prevalence rates and 95% CIs of smoking and SHS exposure in cars, and the corresponding ORs adjusting for the potential confounding variables.

Results The prevalence of tobacco consumption was 5.5% (95% CI 4.6% to 6.4%) and was greater for commercial vehicles (9.8%; 95% CI 7.1% to 12.5%). The prevalence of SHS exposure was 5.2% (95% CI 3.8% to 6.6%) and 2.2% (95% CI 0.5% to 3.9%) of passengers under 14 years of age were exposed to SHS in vehicles.

Conclusions This study highlights the need to promote public health measures aimed at reducing tobacco consumption in vehicles, especially in the presence of children, as well as enforcement of the current Spanish law against smoking in commercial vehicles and taxis.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and

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  • To cite: Curto A, Martínez-Sánchez JM, E Fernández. Tobacco consumption and secondhand smoke exposure in vehicles: a cross-sectional study. BMJ Open 2011;1:e000418. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000418

  • Funding This work was funded by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Government of Spain (RTICC RD06/0020/0089) and the Ministry of Universities and Research, Government of Catalonia (grant 2009SGR192).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Contributors All authors contributed to the design of the study. AC collected the data, prepared the database and analyzed the data. All authors revised the results and contributed to the interpretation of results. AC drafted the manuscript, which was critically revised by JMMS and EF. All authors approved the final version.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data available.