Date: Monday 19, 2009
Organisation: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Keywords: policy legislation workplace health economics
Making the case for smokefree laws: a series of one-page factsheets
The scientific evidence is clear: Secondhand smoke is a proven cause of serious diseases and premature death. That's why people across the United States and around the world are speaking up for their right to breathe clean, smoke-free air. And it's why a growing number of cities, states and countries are enacting laws that require all workplaces and public places to be smoke-free.
In the United States:
27 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have passed smoke-free laws that cover restaurants and bars. The states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina (Jan. 2, 2010), Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota (on hold pending resolution of litigation), Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin (July 5, 2010).
Four other states — Florida, Idaho, Louisiana and Nevada — have smoke-free laws that cover restaurants but exempt stand-alone bars.
Hundreds of cities and counties across the country have also taken action.
Internationally, a growing number of countries have enacted strong, nationwide smoke-free laws. These include Bermuda, Bhutan, Colombia, Djibouti, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay. Most Canadian provinces/territories and Australian states/territories have also enacted such laws.
Efforts to pass smoke-free laws received a powerful boost on June 27, 2006, with the release of a landmark U.S. Surgeon General's report on secondhand smoke.
The report's major conclusions:
The scientific evidence is indisputable that secondhand smoke harms human health. As Surgeon General Richard Carmona stated, "The debate is over. The science is clear. Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance but a serious health hazard that causes premature death and disease in children and nonsmoking adults."
Secondhand smoke is a proven cause of lung cancer and heart disease in nonsmoking adults and of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), low birth weight, acute respiratory infections, ear infections and asthma attacks in infants and children. It is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in the U.S. each year.
There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
Exposure to secondhand smoke has substantial and immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system.
The only way to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke is to require smoke-free workplaces and public places. Other approaches, such as air ventilation systems and smoking and non-smoking sections, do not eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.
Smoke-free policies do not have an adverse economic impact on the hospitality industry.
The evidence is clear that smoke-free laws protect health without harming business. Dozens of studies and hard economic data have shown that smoke-free laws do not harm sales or employment in restaurants and bars and sometimes have a positive impact (seeFact Sheet: Smoke-Free Laws Do Not Hurt Business at Restaurants and Bars).
It's time to protect everyone's right to breathe clean air.