Would you brave the cold of winter to have a coffee on the terrace and limit the risk of catching Covid-19? Know that the terraces of cafes, bars or restaurants are also places of contamination. According to the Spanish Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery (Separ), cigarette or vape smoke can carry the coronavirus within a radius of 8 meters, making terraces a high place of contamination.
Separ recalls that SARS-CoV-2 can be carried by fine particles capable of remaining in suspension and floating in the air for several hours. “The spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is mainly favored by aerosols emitted during breathing, it is a more important means of transmission than the manual way”, underline the professionals (source 1).
Thus, in spaces where there are smokers or vapers, coronaviruses with a diameter of 0.1 microns can join larger tobacco smoke particles and these contaminated aerosols are able to reach a perimeter of 8 meters.
“Therefore, exhaled smoke from conventional tobacco and electronic devices represents an excellent vehicle for the transmission of viral particles between people.” A risk that is all the greater because customers on the terrace often do not wear a mask.
Separ also recalls that there is solid scientific evidence demonstrating a dangerous association between Covid-19 and smoking. “Exposure to tobacco toxins is linked to more severe presentations and worsening of this disease,” she says.
Towards a ban on smoking on the terrace?
In Spain, some 4,800 professionals gathered within the Spanish association are standing up against passive smoking. They are calling for a reform of the anti-tobacco law to extend the ban on smoking in open public spaces, such as terraces. “Allowing smoking on terraces makes these places dangerous for both users and employees, because of the risk of Covid-19 and other tobacco-related diseases”, they are indignant.
According to an OpinionWay survey carried out for the association Tomorrow will be non-smoking (DNF) in May 2021, 56% of French people are in favor of banning smoking on café and restaurant terraces. “This confirms the real desire of the French to be better protected against passive smoking in various places such as café terraces, queues or even the surroundings of schools”, commented the pollsters then (source 2).