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Smoke-Free Policies Improve Health

Overview

Studies have shown that smoke-free laws that ban smoking in public places like bars and restaurants help improve the health of workers.1–4

Selected Studies

Studies in:Found that:Was associated with:
Scotland (2006)1Implementing a comprehensive national smoke-free law (banning smoking in enclosed public spaces)Rapid (within 2 months) improvements in a number of health outcomes in nonsmoking bar workers, including—
  • reductions in respiratory symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath;
  • reductions in sensory symptoms like eye and throat irritations and runny nose;
  • improvements in lung function;
  • reductions in inflammation or swelling of airways; and
  • improved quality of life among bar employees with asthma.
Ireland (2007)2Implementing a comprehensive national smoke-free law (banning smoking in all workplaces)Improvements in the respiratory health of nonsmoking bar workers, including—
  • improvements in lung function,
  • reductions in coughing and phlegm production, and
  • reductions in sensory symptoms like eye and throat irritations.
California (1998)3Implementing a state law making bars smoke-freeImprovements in the respiratory health of bartenders, including—
  • decreases in the proportion of bartenders reporting respiratory symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath;
  • decreases in the proportion of bartenders reporting sensory symptoms like red or teary eyes, runny nose, sneezing, or sore throat; and
  • improvements in bartenders' lung function.
Additional Studies:
Additional studies conducted in several communities, states, regions, and countries have found that implementing smoke-free laws is associated with rapid and substantial reductions in hospital heart attack admissions. These reductions appear to be more pronounced among nonsmokers than smokers.4

References

  1. Menzies D, Nair A, Williamson PA, Schembri S, Al-Khairalla MZH, Barnes M, et al. Respiratory Symptoms, Pulmonary Function, and Markers of Inflammation Among Bar Workers Before and After a Legislative Ban on Smoking in Public Places. Journal of the American Medical Association 2006;296(14):1742–8 [cited 2011 Mar 11].
  2. Goodman P, Agnew M, McCaffrey M, Paul G, Clancy L. Effects of the Irish Smoking Ban on Respiratory Health of Bar Workers and Air Quality in Dublin Pubs. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 2007;175(8):840–5 [cited 2011 Mar 11].
  3. Eisner MD, Smith AK, Blanc PD. Bartenders' Respiratory Health After Establishment of Smoke-Free Bars and Taverns. Journal of the American Medical Association 1998;280(22):1909–14 [cited 2011 Mar 11].
  4. Institute of Medicine. Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence [PDF–707.47 KB]. Washington: National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, 2009 [accessed 2011 Mar 11].

For Further Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Office on Smoking and Health
E-mail: tobaccoinfo@cdc.gov
Phone: 1-800-CDC-INFO

Media Inquiries: Contact CDC's Office on Smoking and Health press line at 770-488-5493.

 
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