Holidaymakers who don't smoke should avoid hotels that only offer a partial smoking ban, researchers say.
A group of experts from the US compared evidence of smoke pollution on surfaces and in the air quality of rooms in 10 non-smoking hotels and 30 hotels operating partial restrictions.
They also analysed urine and finger wipe samples from non-smokers during a one-night stay to assess their exposure to nicotine and a cancer-causing agent found specifically in tobacco smoke.
It was discovered that surface nicotine levels in non-smoking rooms of hotels that allow people to light up were more than twice as high as those in rooms of hotels with complete smoking bans. Air nicotine levels were 40% higher in non-smoking rooms of hotels with partial bans.
The study, published in the journal Tobacco Control, found people who stayed in hotels with partial restrictions had higher levels of nicotine on their fingers than those who stayed in non-smoking hotels. They also had higher levels of cotinine, a biomarker of tobacco smoke exposure, in their urine.
"A partial smoking ban did not protect either the non-smoking rooms from tobacco smoke pollution or the confederates staying in these rooms from exposure to tobacco smoke," the researchers from San Diego State University wrote.
"Guests who wish to protect themselves from exposure to tobacco smoke should avoid hotels that permit smoking and instead stay in completely smoke-free hotels."
Copyright Press Association 2013