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Smoke-Free Work Environments in All States Possible by 2020


A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that in just the past 10 years, 25 states and the District of Columbia have enacted these laws banning smoking in all indoor areas of private sector worksites including restaurants and bars.

The projection for the entire nature to have such laws by 2020 is based on the rate at which states have been adopting comprehensive smoke-free laws.

Secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure causes lung cancer and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases in nonsmoking adults and children, resulting in an estimated 46,000 heart disease deaths and 3,400 lung cancer deaths among U.S. nonsmoking adults each year.

"Eliminating smoking from worksites, restaurants and bars is a low-cost, high-impact strategy that will protect nonsmokers and allow them to live healthier, longer, more productive lives while lowering health care costs associated with secondhand smoke," said CDC director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "While there has been a lot of progress over the past decade, far too many Americans continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke at their workplaces, increasing their risk of cancer and heart attacks."

The study published in this week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, lists the smoke-free status of every state and the District of Columbia. Data on state smoking restrictions for the report were obtained from CDC’s State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation (STATE) System database, which contains tobacco related epidemiologic and economic data and information on state tobacco-related legislation.

The number of states with comprehensive smoke-free laws in effect increased from zero on December 31, 2000, to 26 states on December 31, 2010. The first state to implement a comprehensive smoke-free law was Delaware in 2002.

Delaware was followed by New York in 2003, Massachusetts in 2004, and Rhode Island and Washington in 2005. Comprehensive smoke-free laws went into effect in Colorado, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Ohio in 2006. They were followed by Arizona, DC, Minnesota, and New Mexico in 2007.

In 2008, Illinois, Iowa, and Maryland passed comprehensive smoke-free laws. They were followed in 2009 by Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah, and Vermont; and in 2010 by Kansas, Michigan, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

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The years listed are the years in which the laws took effect; in some cases the laws were enacted in a preceding year. Some state laws were expanded gradually or phased in; in these cases, the year provided is the year when the law first applied to all three of the settings considered in this study.

As of December 31, 2010, in addition to the 26 states with comprehensive smoke-free laws, 10 states had enacted laws that prohibit smoking in one or two, but not all three, of the venues included in this study. These include Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, North Carolina, Arkansas, Idaho, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

Additionally, eight states had passed less restrictive laws (e.g., laws allowing smoking in designated areas or areas with separate ventilation).

Finally, seven states have no statewide smoking restrictions in place for private worksites, restaurants, or bars. These are Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Of note, only three southern states (Florida, Louisiana, and North Carolina) have laws that prohibit smoking in any two of the three venues examined in this report, and no southern state has a comprehensive state smoke-free law in effect.

Despite increased adoption of state and local smoke-free laws, approximately 88 million nonsmoking Americans aged 3 and older are still exposed to secondhand smoke each year. More than half of children over age 3 are exposed to secondhand smoke. The 2010 Surgeon General's report makes clear that there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke—including secondhand smoke—and that any exposure can lead to immediate damage to the body's organs and DNA.

Additional information on secondhand smoke exposure and smoke-free laws is available by accessing CDC's State Tobacco
Activities Tracking and Evaluation System at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/statesystem.

Smokers can call 1-800-QUITNOW
(1-800-784-8669) or visit http://www.smokefree.gov for quitting assistance.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention