Apr 22, 2011

Indoor smoking will soon be dead in all 50 states

The dirty dozen has shrank to the smoky seven, but a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says all 50 states could have smoke-free worksites, restaurants and bars by 2020 if current trends continue.

As Michigan approaches the first anniversary of May 1 when the popular workplace smoking ban went into effect, only Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming have no restrictions in place.

The CDC projection is based on the rate at which states have been passing laws to protect people from second-hand smoke over the past decade. Over that time period, 25 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws banning smoking in all three of those venues.

According to the report, secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure causes lung cancer and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases in nonsmoking adults and children, resulting in an estimated 46,000 heart disease deaths and 3,400 lung cancer deaths among U.S. nonsmoking adults each year.

In December of last year, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina M. Benjamin issued the strongest report ever on smoking and secondhand smoke: “A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease - The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease.” The 30th Surgeon General Report on smoking since the landmark 1964 Surgeon General's report that first linked smoking to lung cancer confirmed what many other peer revived studies have shown; that as little as one cigarette a day, or even just inhaling smoke from someone else's cigarette, could be enough to cause a heart attack and even death.

The CDC report confirms that, saying “Smoke-free laws substantially improve indoor air quality, reduce SHS exposure and related health problems among nonsmokers, help smokers quit, change social norms regarding the acceptability of smoking, and reduce heart attack and asthma hospitalizations.”

The smoking ban in Michigan has been a success, despite the hysterical cries of pro-smoking groups like the Michigan Restaurant Association and the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association that it would harm business, and the fact is it has done the opposite. It’s now time to take the next step and ban smoking in casinos.

The problem is that bill has not yet been introduced. It’s really sad that the only bills currently pending in the Michigan Legislature addressing smoking just carve out more exceptions and attempts to weaken the law.

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