MUSC Hollings Cancer Center

Air Quality Study

Contact: Vicky Agnew
MUSC Hollings Cancer Center
Phone: (843) 792-0376
Mobile: (843) 697-6208

MUSC Hollings Cancer Center Study Finds Air Quality Significantly Improved in Charleston Area Businesses Covered by Smoke-Free Laws

Air Pollution Decreased 94 Percent across Tested Venues in Charleston
and Mt. Pleasant

July 29, 2008, Charleston, SC — New findings from a study conducted by researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina Hollings Cancer Center (HCC) revealed significantly improved air quality in bars and restaurants in Charleston and Mt. Pleasant where smoke-free ordinances were implemented last year.

With a 94 percent reduction in air pollution, the air quality in the places included in the study fell well within safe limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said HCC Cancer Control Specialist Matthew Carpenter, PhD, who led the study.

“We know that hospitality employees are exposed to secondhand smoke, which is an established cause of lung cancer,” Carpenter said. “These results show that smoke-free legislation effectively reduces exposure and that such legislation protects hospitality employees from a known cancer risk,” Carpenter said.

The study began in 2006 when the researchers analyzed air quality in 23 venues that allowed smoking in Charleston and 11 in Mt. Pleasant. These same venues were tested again in 2008 following passage of local smoke-free ordinances.  The City of Charleston established a smoke-free ordinance in public places in July 2007; the Town of Mt. Pleasant followed with a similar ordinance in September 2007.

The study also examined air quality in 10 establishments in North Charleston, which does not have a smoke-free ordinance, and found that air pollution there remains more than three times higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers safe.

“Everyone has the right to breathe clean air, especially at work,” said Dianne Wilson of the South Carolina African American Tobacco Control Network, who funded the study. “These tests show that workers protected by smoke-free ordinances have a tremendous health advantage over workers in cities that have failed to pass protective measures.”

The study’s findings were independently reviewed by Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY.

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About Hollings Cancer Center
Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina offers state-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities, therapies and surgical techniques and has multidisciplinary clinics that involve surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation therapists, radiologists, pathologists, psychologists and many other specialists seeing patients under one roof.  Multidisciplinary care is provided in disease specific clinics such as thoracic, breast, head & neck, genitourinary, gastrointestinal, hematological, and pediatric cancers. Hollings Cancer Center is the largest academic-based cancer program in South Carolina.  The Hollings Cancer Center is currently a developing National Cancer Institute designated cancer center and has more than $35M in cancer research funding. More than 1,000 people are currently participating on a cancer clinical trial at HCC.  For more information, please visit

About MUSC
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 11,000 employees, including 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $1.6 billion. MUSC operates a 750-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital and a leading Institute of Psychiatry. For more information on academic information or clinical services, visit or



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