ENIKO NEMES NAGY, PREG ZOLTAN, LASZLO MIHALY IMRE, SEPTIMIU VOIDAZAN, ZITA FAZAKAS, GERMAN SALLO MARTA, ABRAM ZOLTAN, BALAZS PETER, KRISTIE FOLEY, KIKELI PAL ISTVAN THE INFLUENCE OF THE NEW NATIONAL CLEAN AIR LAW ON THE PM2.5 AIR POLLUTION IN THE CAMPUS OF THE UMPH TIRGU MURES DURING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SMOKE-FREE UNIVERSITY PROJECT Measurement of PM2.5 concentration is a widely used marker of air pollution, including exposure to secondhand smoke. The tobacco smoking ban in March 2016 prohibited smoking in all confined public places in Romania, which should lower the exposure to PM2.5 if well-implemented and enforced. Our research team started in 2014 a unique program in Romania to implement a smoke-free medical university project. The aim of this study was monitoring the air quality based on PM2.5 measurements prior and after the ban. PM2.5 air pollution was measured prior to and after the ban in five buildings of the campus of University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Tirgu Mures: the main educational building and four student dormitories. Measurement was obtained using the Aerosol Monitor Side Pak AM 510. We observed significantly improved air quality (p<0.0001) in each building, with the most radical changes recorded in two student dormitories: from very unhealthy levels of exposure prior to the ban (exceeding 170-185 µg/m³) to the unhealthy for sensitive groups (40 µg/m³) and moderate air pollution (under 20 µg/m³) after the ban. In the main educational building the PM2.5 concentration decreased from moderate pollution to very close to the threshold of good air quality. The decrease in air pollution of our university campus is likely due to the new legislation banning indoor smoking and the result of our smoke-free university project. However, despite improvements, PM2.5was not eliminated and needs continued efforts to enforce the ban particularly in student dormitories.
Keywords: tobacco ban, air pollution, smoke-free university, PM2.5 concentration