Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2004: If You Can't Smell It, Can It Harm You?

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Where there's smoke, there's controversy.

It occurred at the ASHRAE seminar "Standard 62's Comfort-Only Approach to Smoking Spaces." The title refers to an addendum to the standard, which directs designers of smoking spaces to treat them primarily for odor control. Although the addenda are being scrapped in favor of a design guide (under development), the standard itself offers plenty of advice for engineers who design smoking only, smoking and non-smoking, and non-smoking spaces.

The question is, how effective is it in mitigating second-hand tobacco smoke to a meaningful degree? According to Trane applications engineer Dennis Stanke, a ventilation system for a space with environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) complies with 62-2001. However, he stated, "We don't know the outcome in terms of health or comfort due to increased ventilation. It will comply with the standard."

James Repace, with Repace Associates, presented his view of the outcome in terms of health. According to his research, a ventilation system would need to provide 100,000 cfm per occupant to get indoor contaminants from ETS at an acceptable risk level. "You would need tornado-like levels of ventilation."

Publication date: 01/26/2004

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