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Media Statement

For Immediate Release: November 10, 2010
Contact: CDC Division of Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

Statement by Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., Director, Office on Smoking and Health, CDC — Half of States are Protected from Secondhand Smoke: South Dakota Goes Smoke-Free in all Workplaces, Restaurants, and Bars

Today marks the half-way point in a remarkable journey for smoke-free air. At the start of the decade, there were no states in the U.S. with comprehensive smoke-free laws in workplaces, restaurants, and bars, and less than one percent of Americans were protected under such laws. Today, as South Dakota's smoke-free law goes into effect, 25 states and the District of Columbia—covering nearly 50 percent of Americans—prohibit smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars.

Previously, workplaces and some restaurants were smoke-free in South Dakota. On November 2, 2010, a South Dakota ballot initiative was approved by almost two-thirds of voters and now requires all restaurants and bars in the state to be smoke-free. The law also prohibits smoking in casinos.

In 2010, comprehensive smoke-free laws also took effect in Kansas, Michigan and Wisconsin; and North Carolina prohibited smoking in restaurants and bars, but did not prohibit smoking in workplaces.

Secondhand smoke causes 46,000 heart attacks and 3,400 lung cancer deaths each year. In 2006, the Surgeon General concluded that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that eliminating smoking from all indoor areas is the only way to fully protect people from secondhand smoke exposure. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air and ventilating buildings are not effective ways to protect the public from secondhand smoke exposure. Smoke-free policies substantially improve indoor air quality, reduce negative health outcomes among nonsmokers, decrease consumption, encourage smokers to quit, and change social norms regarding the acceptability of smoking.

Smoke-free laws have also been associated with a rapid and substantial reduction in hospitalizations for heart attacks. On average, heart attack hospitalizations have been shown to decline up to 17 percent during the first year after implementation of a smoke-free law.

According to CDC's State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation (STATE) System, the states with smoke-free workplaces, restaurants and bars are:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota (effective November 10, 2010)
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Resources

  1. US Department of Health and Human Services. The health consequences of involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke: a report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2006. Available at http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/secondhandsmoke/report/fullreport.pdf.
  2. Lightwood JM, Glantz SA. Declines in Acute Myocardial Infarction After Smoke-Free Laws and Individual Risk Attributable to Secondhand Smoke. Circulation 2009 Oct 6;120(14):1373-9. Epub 2009 Sep 21
  3. Institute of Medicine. Secondhand smoke exposure and cardiovascular effects: making sense of the evidence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2010.
  4. CDC's State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System, available at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/statesystem.

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