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State Smoke-Free Laws for Worksites, Restaurants, and Bars—United States, 2000–2010

April 22, 2011 / Vol. 60 / No. 15


MMWR Highlights

 

Findings

  • 25 states and the District of Columbia have implemented comprehensive smoke-free laws.
    • Comprehensive smoke-free laws prohibit smoking in indoor areas of workplaces, restaurants and bars.
    • In the span of ten years, smoke-free workplaces, restaurants and bars went from being relatively rare to being the norm in half of the United States.
  • 10 states have adopted partial, but not comprehensive smoke-free laws (e.g. smoke-free workplaces and restaurants, but not bars).
  • 8 states have less restrictive laws, such as those that allow smoking in designated areas or areas with separate ventilation.
  • 7 states have no statewide smoking restrictions, though some cities and counties in these states have comprehensive local laws.
  • No Southeastern state has a comprehensive smoke-free law in effect.

 

Smoke-Free Progress

  • If smoke-free activity is sustained nationally and intensified in certain regions, all states will be smoke-free by 2020.
    • Factors that contributed to the increase in state smoke-free laws from 2000 through 2010 include the following:
      • Smoke-free laws increasingly were framed as a worker protection measure that should apply to all employees, including those in restaurants and bars.
      • The 2006 release of the Surgeon General’s Report on The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke generated extensive news media coverage and was cited by a number of state and local policymakers as influencing their decisions on this topic.

 

Background

  • Approximately 88 million nonsmokers aged three and older are still exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • Secondhand smoke exposure causes death and disease in both nonsmoking adults and children.
  • There is no safe level of exposure.
    • Separately enclosed and ventilated smoking rooms are not effective in completely eliminating secondhand smoke exposure.
    • The only way to fully protect nonsmokers is to eliminate smoking in indoor spaces.
  • Continued efforts to reduce secondhand smoke exposure in all settings are needed to ensure that all nonsmokers are protected from this hazard.
  • Workplaces and homes continue to be main sources of secondhand smoke exposure.
  • Data on state smoking restrictions for this report were obtained from CDC's State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation (STATE) System database, which contains tobacco-related epidemiologic and economic data and information on state tobacco-related legislation.
 
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