Jun 5, 2008

New CDC study shows smoke free laws are quickly spreading across the U.S.

A new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the number and restrictiveness of state laws regulating smoking in private-sector worksites, restaurants and bars increased substantially over the past three years.

The report was published in the CDC’s weekly journal Morbidity and Morality Weekly Report, and the analysis found the number of states with strong smoke-free laws tripled between December 31, 2004 and December 31, 2007. According to the CDC, Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals and at least 50 carcinogens and causes heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults.

The report also says “eliminating smoking in indoor spaces is the only way to fully protect nonsmokers from second hand smoke exposure.” To that end, the CDC’s “A Healthy People 2010 objective” calls for establishing laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia that make indoor public places and worksites completely smoke-free.

Since the study period, several more states have enacted smoke free laws, with Iowa being the latest, and 33 states have banned indoor smoking. Once the laws are fully implemented, more than 53 percent of the U.S. population will live in jurisdictions with smokes free laws that include bars and restaurants.

Late last month the Michigan House approved a smoking ban bill in all workplaces, including bars and restaurants, with the exception of non-Native American casinos, bingo-halls and so-called “cigar bars.” A few weeks earlier the Senate had approved version, House Bill 4163, that had no carve out outs. The House sent their substitute bill, HB 5074, to the Senate, and it is currently awaiting action in the Senate.

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