Thanks For The Boston Tobacco Ban
Probably not so much today, and maybe not for years, but someday many Bostonians will be thanking the Boston Public Health Commission's Board of Health for implementing the Boston tobacco ban that goes into effect on Monday, February 9th. With the new regulations, it's going to be harder to purchase tobacco and much more difficult to find a place to indulge in a smoke. With the numerous malignancies, respiratory ailments and cardiovascular events caused by tobacco products and second-hand smoke, it shouldn't be long before the health benefits afforded by these changes begin making the Boston headlines. Just ask the folks in Pueblo, Colorado where a ban on tobacco in workplaces led to a 41 percent drop in heart attacks within 3 years.
According to the Boston tobacco ban, tobacco products, including cigarettes, blunt wraps used to roll marijuana, cigars, and chewing tobacco, can't be sold in health institutions, pharmacies, drugs stores, grocery stores and in any business located on the property of educational institutions. In addition, smoking is prohibited in hotels, inns, lodging houses, motels, and bed and breakfast establishments in Boston. Smoking is also prohibited in outdoor workspaces that are located adjacent to indoor workspaces. No more stepping out into the parking lot at work or the restaurant's patio for a quick smoke break. Smoking is banned on loading docks, unenclosed floors of new construction sites and remodeling jobs, and in valet parking areas.
Taking no chances with those who can get around the rules, the Boston tobacco ban requires smoking bars to post signs warning patrons of the hazards of smoking and secondhand smoke. Existing smoking bars, including cigar bars and hookah bars can initially continue their operations for no more than 10 years. As for new smoking bar permits, don't expect the Boston Public Health Commission to be issuing any.
Since January 1964 when the Surgeon General Luther Terry published his famous report, Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General, the effects of smoking have been well publicized. For some people, the report, which showed an increased mortality of 70 percent for smokers compared to non-smokers, was shocking. For others the news came as no surprise. This and subsequent medical reports have acted as a deterrent for some people. For the citizens of and visitors to Boston, the Boston tobacco ban has the same intent. The ban serves as a reminder that public health officials have a duty to protect us from health hazards.
These same public health officials recognize, often first-hand, that quitting smoking isn't easy. As part of the Boston tobacco ban, the Boston Public Health Commission has been coordinating their efforts with Boston health centers and hospitals. Increased access to free nicotine patches, counseling and other smoking cessation resources is available. In the upcoming months, these services will be increasingly available through neighborhood pharmacies. For more information on smoking cessation resources, check with the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program website at bphc.org and click the link to "Quit Smoking Today" or call to speak to one of the program representatives at 617-534-4718. And when the Boston newspapers begin reporting a lower rate of heart attacks and cancer and improved infant mortality, be sure to thank the Boston Public Health Commission for its efforts.