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Iowa Goes Smokefree

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

With the Smokefree Air Act going into effect on Tuesday, health officials report that businesses and the public are eager to learn as much as they can about the new law. Since the State's Web site about the new law, www.IowaSmokefreeAir.gov, was launched on June 2, the site has received more than 50,000 total hits, an average of nearly 1,800 per day.

"These numbers, along with more than 1,200 questions and comments from the public, indicate a strong interest among Iowans in following the new law," said IDPH Director Tom Newton. "Education is the key to compliance. Even after the law goes into effect, we will continue to focus on educating the public."

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Signed by Governor Culver on April 15, the Smokefree Air Act is aimed at protecting the health of employees by prohibiting smoking in nearly all workplaces in Iowa, including restaurants and bars. Enforcement of the new law will be accompanied by a strong educational component, including personally contacting businesses that have received a complaint, compliance check site visits by local law enforcement, and fines after other efforts have failed.

To ensure that Iowans know everything they need to know to comply with the new law, www.IowaSmokefreeAir.gov includes a variety of resources for business owners and the public. There visitors will find: business-specific fact sheets; downloadable "no smoking" signs; a Frequently Asked Questions document; and links to the Smokefree Air Act and accompanying Administrative Rules. Beginning July 1, a feature will be added to allow the public to register complaints.

In addition to providing the public with information about the new law, IDPH is also actively seeking public comment on the Administrative Rules. The comment period lasts through Aug. 22.