The surprising effectiveness of electrostatic air cleaners in a smoking bar

My post “Smoking ban was unnecessary to protect smokers and non-smokers from harm” (see HERE) prompted a comment that doubted the efficacy of electrostatic air cleaners in pubs. In response,  here’s the text of a press release I wrote and distributed in 2005 for Honeywell and Inn-House Technology, which explains that a Sunday newspaper couldn’t understand why there was minimal pollution in a bar fitted with the cleaners!  I sent this to the paper’s reporter, news desk and features desk, and left messages offering to discuss it, but they didn’t follow it up or publish my explanation – probably because it weakened the paper’s argument for a full smoking ban!

Sunday Mirror researchers surprised by low air pollution in smoking bar

Air pollution at Harvey’s Wine Bar in Folkestone was much lower than in other pubs tested nationwide for effects of “passive smoking” by a Sunday newspaper.  The surprised Sunday Mirror investigators hadn’t noticed the bar’s three high-tech Honeywell air cleaners, which remove smoke, volatile organic compounds, dust, smoke, allergens and other pollutants, leaving a cleaner, healthier environment for staff and patrons.

The report published in the Sunday Mirror said: “For some reason Harvey’s Wine Bar fared better than the rest.  Several friends did their best to blow smoke in my face during our visit, but the reading ‘only’ registered the equivalent of one cigarette in three hours.”  In spite of these efforts to induce passive smoking, the effect was still small and less than a third of the other typical “smoking” bars they tested.

Bar manager, Bob Mills, observed: “Most regulars are smokers and we respect their wish to smoke.  I’m a non-smoker so I’m delighted we have the Honeywell cleaners, which do a great job in removing smoke and pollutants.”  The cleaners were installed and are serviced by Colchester-based Inn-House Technology.

Mills said it would be commercial suicide for Harvey’s to ban smoking, either voluntarily or if it was required to.  “Smoking is an important part of customers’ social habits.  They wouldn’t come back if we banned it.”

The front bar area regularly fills with 60 people watching televised soccer on Saturday afternoons.  A Harvey’s customer observed, “They stand shoulder to shoulder and smoke continuously – it’s part of the experience.  So it’s not surprising it then gets smoky in here.  No air cleaner could keep up with such extreme conditions, but the customers are happy with smoke.”

There is more to air treatment than air conditioning and ventilation says Honeywell.  Its air cleaners actively remove pollutants and supply the clean air over a large area, unlike ventilators which only move air and unlike air conditioners which only cool air and adjust humidity.

With the high-tech cleaners, air indoors can be cleaner and healthier than outside.  Staffs are happier, less prone to illness and hay fever, and enjoy a smoke-free workplace.  Customers are more comfortable, so stay longer and spend more.

Millions of Honeywell air cleaners are in daily use worldwide, in cafes, bars, restaurants, offices, hotels, leisure centres and other venues.

(Press release written and issued in 2005)

Royer Slater
August 2011

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