Smokefree Policies Can Protect Everybody

Smokefree policies can protect everybody from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. Commercial and residential settings can enact different policies to minimize secondhand smoke.

Smokefree policies do not negatively impact businesses

  • Studies show that smokefree laws and policies do not have an adverse economic impact on the hospitality industry.1
    • A comprehensive review of 97 studies from eight countries on the economic impact of smokefree policies and concluded that studies consistently have found that smokefree policies do not harm business.2
    • An analysis of the impact of local smokefree laws in eight states (Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia) and a state-level law in one state (North Carolina), found that smokefree laws do not have a negative impact on either employment or sales in restaurants and bars.3
  • Few studies have examined the economic impact of smokefree policies on casinos.
    • A review of the studies published from January 1998 to March 2011 found that the results of these studies are mixed, although none appeared to have examined the cost savings that could result from adoption of these policies.4
    • One 2011 study found that implementation of Illinois’ smoke-free law – which applies to casinos – did not result in fewer people going to casinos.4,5
    • A 2017 study found that nearly half of people who smoke and three-quarters of casino visitors favor smokefree casinos.6
  • Some studies suggest a smokefree policy produces positive effects for local businesses.
    • An in-depth analysis of tax revenue data in California after the state implemented their smokefree restaurant law (in 1995) and bar law (in 1998) found that the smokefree restaurant law was associated with an increase in restaurant revenues, and the smokefree bar law was associated with an increase in bar revenues.7
    • An evaluation of the New York City smokefree law found that just one year after implementation restaurant and bar revenues increased by 8.7% from April 2003 through January 2004.8

Smokefree policies can protect people in private homes and settings

  • States have made substantial progress in protecting individuals who do not smoke from secondhand smoke exposure in indoor worksites and public places through state and local laws. However, many people remain exposed to secondhand smoke in areas not covered by these policies—including in homes.
  • The home is the primary source of secondhand smoke exposure among children.9,10
  • Nearly 1 of 5 children aged 3–11 years live with someone who smoked inside the home, compared with 1 of 20 nonsmoking adults.11
  • Children who live in homes where smoking is allowed have higher levels of biological markers for secondhand smoke exposure than children who live in homes where smoking is not allowed.1
  • Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces is the only way to fully protect individuals who do not smoke from secondhand smoke exposure.1 The implementation of smokefree laws increases the adoption of voluntary smokefree rules in homes.12 In turn, smokefree rules in homes may increase the adoption of smokefree rules for private vehicles.13 These rules can further protect people who do not smoke—especially those who are disproportionately affected by secondhand smoke exposure in homes and in vehicles, such as children.14,15

Smokefree policies can protect residents in multi-unit housing

  • Approximately 80 million residents in the U.S. live in multi-unit housing facilities such as apartment complexes and condominiums.16
  • People who live in multi-unit housing, including apartments, are more likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke exposure in the home.1,16
  • Secondhand smoke can spread throughout a building along various pathways. Among those residents with smokefree home rules, an estimated 27.6–28.9 million are exposed to secondhand smoke infiltration from neighboring units or shared areas in the building.17
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing facilities may vary depending on building structure, building age, and where smoking is allowed. Unlike a single-family home, even if a family in a multi-unit housing facility adopts a household rule prohibiting smoking in their home, secondhand smoke can still enter their unit from other units and areas where smoking is allowed.1,16,18
  • The operation of a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system can distribute secondhand smoke throughout a building.1 There are no engineering approaches, including ventilation and air cleaning, that can fully eliminate the risk of secondhand smoke exposure.1,18
  • Smokefree policies to prohibit smoking in living units and common areas of multi-unit housing facilities are legally permissible and the most effective way to fully protect residents from involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke.17,19
  • As of February 2022, 67 municipalities nationwide had laws that required 100% smokefree multi-unit housing; all 67 were located in California.20
  • In January 2016, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mandated that all public housing agencies implement indoor smokefree policies within 25 feet and inside all their buildings by July 2018. However, many persons that are not affected by the HUD rule are exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • Owners and property management companies that oversee privately owned housing can voluntarily implement smokefree policies.
  • Evidence suggests there is high compliance and support of smokefree building policies among most multi-unit housing residents.17,19,21 In addition, implementation of smokefree policies can result in substantial cost savings for multi-unit housing operators and society, including from reduced renovation expenses, fire-related losses, money spent on health care, and other expenses related to secondhand smoke.11,19,21
  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, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2006.
  2. International Agency for Research on Cancer. Evaluating the Effectiveness of Smoke-free Policies. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention. Vol. 13; 2009.
  3. Loomis BR, Shafer PR, van Hasselt M. The Economic Impact of Smoke-Free Laws on Restaurants and Bars in 9 States. Preventing Chronic Disease 2013;10:E128.
  4. Babb S, McNeil C, Kruger J, Tynan MA. Secondhand smoke and smoking restrictions in casinos: a review of the evidence. Tob Control 2015;24(1):11-7.
  5. Harris JK, Carothers BJ, Luke DA, Silmere H, McBride TD, Pion M. Exempting casinos from the Smokefree Illinois Act will not bring patrons back: they never left. Tob Control 2012;21(3):373-6.
  6. Tynan MA, Wang TW, Marynak KL, Lemos P, Babb SD. Attitudes Toward Smoke-Free Casino Policies Among US Adults, 2017. Public Health Rep. 2019;134(3):234-240.
  7. Cowling DW, Bond P. Smoke-free laws and bar revenues in California--the last call. Health Econ.  2005;14(12):1273-81.
  8. New York City Department of Finance, New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, New York City Department of Small Business Services, New York City Economic Development Corporation. The State of Smoke-Free New York City: A One-Year Review. 2004 [accessed 2022 Jul 15].
  9. Bonnie R, Stratton K, Wallace RB. Ending the Tobacco Problem: A Blueprint for the Nation. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2007.
  10. Hennrikus D, Pentel PR, Sandell SD. Preferences and practices among renters regarding smoking restrictions in apartment buildings. Tob Control 2003;12(2):189–194.
  11. CDC. Vital signs: Nonsmokers’ exposure to secondhand smoke-United States, 1999–2008. MMWR 2010;59(35):1141–1146.
  12. Cheng KW, Glantz SA, Lightwood JM. Association between smokefree laws and voluntary smokefreehome rules. Am J Prev Med. 2011;41(6):566-72.
  13. Bundy ŁT, Haardörfer R, Kegler MC, et al. Disseminating a Smoke-free Homes Program to Low Socioeconomic Status Households in the United States Through 2-1-1: Results of a National Impact Evaluation. Nicotine Tob Res. 2020;22(4):498-505.
  14. US Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2014.
  15. Walton K, Gentzke AS, Murphy-Hoefer R, Kenemer B, Neff LJ. Exposure to Secondhand Smoke in Homes and Vehicles Among US Youths, United States, 2011-2019. Prev Chronic Dis. 2020; 17: E103.
  16. CDC. Vital signs: disparities in nonsmokers’ exposure to secondhand smoke — United States, 1999–2012. MMWR 2015;64(04):103–108.
  17. King BA, Babb SD, Tynan MA, Gerzoff RB. National and state estimates of secondhand smoke infiltration among U.S. multiunit housing residents. Nicotine Tob Res. 2013;15(7):1316–1321.
  18. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers, Inc (ASHRAE). Position Paper: Environmental Tobacco Smoke. Atlanta, GA: ASHRAE; 2005 [accessed 2022 Jul 15].
  19. King BA, Peck RM, Babb SD. National and state cost savings associated with prohibiting smoking in subsidized and public housing in the United States. Prev Chronic Dis. 2014;11:140222.
  20. American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. U.S. Laws for 100% Smokefree Multi-Unit Housing. [accessed 2022 Jul 15].
  21. Snyder K, Vick JH, King BA. Smokefree multiunit housing: a review of the scientific literature. Tob Control 2015; 0:1–12.