PM 2.5, Secondhand Smoke, and Air Filtration

Particulate matter less than 2.5 microns (PM 2.5) can be found everywhere, but has been considered a common indicator of secondhand smoke (SHS) levels. PM 2.5 levels up to 35.4 µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter) are considered by the EPA to be “moderate” and still within the healthy range of air quality.

Simple, affordable PM 2.5 meters at exempted locations will ensure air meets or exceeds EPA and OSHA standards for good to moderate air quality.


PM 2.5 in smoking establishments

The initial reading of 135µg/m3 in the above video is within the range of readings taken in smoking-allowed establishments (see air quality study below). The video demonstrates that effective ventilation systems can bring PM 2.5 levels down to just 5µg/m3–well within range of what the EPA considers good air quality with no adverse health effects–in just nine minutes.

PM 2.5 in nonsmoking establishments

In the above study, the average level of PM 2.5 in nonsmoking establishments was found to be 61µg/m3, which is actually in the unhealthy range of the EPA’s scale. As demonstrated in the video at the top of this page, proper filtration and ventilation systems in high PM 2.5 areas (such as indoor smoking areas) can bring PM 2.5 levels down to as low as just 5µg/m3. This means, with our proposal, the air within exempted indoor smoking areas will actually be safer than many smoke-free establishments with no filtration systems.

Employee Health

The Michigan Compromise Coalition is committed to ensuring air quality for employees at exempted locations is within the EPA’s healthy range. Our proposal can make the air within exempted locations safer for employees than it is with the current smoking ban in place. In addition to ventilation and filtration, one of the requirements of our proposal is that owners who permit smoking in exempted indoor areas make PM 2.5 meters available to employees.

State or local inspections will also be conducted within these areas to verify the air meets or exceeds EPA standards for good to moderate air quality. Violations may result in fines and penalties, up to an including a requirement the establishment becomes smoke-free.

Numerous studies have been conducted on ventilation and filtration and its positive impact on air quality.