Thursday, June 23, 2016

CDC reports progress on comprehensive smoke-free laws

Secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure causes more than 41,000 deaths among nonsmoking adults and 400 deaths in infants each year. There is no risk-free level of SHS exposure. Smoke-free laws that prohibit smoking in all indoor areas of a location fully protect nonsmokers from involuntary exposure to SHS in these indoor areas. This Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report updates a previous CDC report that evaluated state smoke-free laws in effect from 2000-2010, and now includes estimates for
individuals protected by local laws. 

The number of states and the District of Columbia (DC) with laws that prohibit smoking in indoor areas of worksites, restaurants, and bars increased from zero in 2000 to 26 in 2010 to 27 in 2015. When local smoke-free laws are also considered, the percentage of the US population that is protected increased from 2.72 percent in 2000 to 49.6 percent in 2015. 

Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects nonsmokers from SHS exposure; separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, or ventilating buildings cannot completely eliminate exposure. Persisting gaps in smoke-free protections leaves large numbers of vulnerable populations exposed to SHS and lead to greater health disparities between geographic and ethnic populations. Continued efforts to put into action comprehensive statewide laws prohibiting smoking in workplaces and public places are critical to protect nonsmokers from this preventable health hazard in the places they live, work, and gather.

MMWR Highlights
• The number of states (including DC) with comprehensive smoke-free laws in effect increased from zero on December 31, 2000, to 28 on June 9, 2016.
• When local smoke-free laws are also considered, the percentage of the US population protected increased from 2.72% in 2000 to 49.6% in 2015.
• There are 10 states that do not have a law restricting smoking in worksites, restaurants, and bars, but have restrictions on smoking in 1 or 2 of those locations (Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, North Carolina, Arkansas, Idaho, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee).
• There are 9 states in which 0% of the population is protected by state or local smoke-free laws (Connecticut, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia.)

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