All US workplaces could be smoke-free by 2020

April 22nd, 2011 - 11:25 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 22 (IANS/EFE) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that by 2020 there could be smoke-free workplaces across the US.

The prediction reflects the impact of decades of campaigns against smoking and nicotine in the US.

“Eliminating smoking from worksites, restaurants and bars is a low-cost, high-impact strategy that will protect non-smokers and allow them to live healthier, longer, more productive lives,” said center director Thomas R. Frieden.

“While there has been a lot of progress over the past decade, far too many Americans continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke at their workplaces, increasing their risk of cancer and heart attacks,” he said.

“By 2020 or sooner, the entire nation could have laws banning smoking in all indoor areas of private sector worksites, restaurants and bars,” the CDC said. “These places are major sources of secondhand smoke exposure.”

Such a prediction is borne out by the rate at which states have been adopting comprehensive anti-tobacco laws: in the last 10 years alone, 25 states and the District of Columbia have enacted these laws.

The study appears in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Another 10 states have laws that prohibit smoking in one or two of the areas mentioned but not in all three.

The study also names eight states that have less restrictive laws, such as those that allow smoking in designated areas in workplaces, restaurants and bars, or have separate, well-ventilated areas for the purpose.

Finally, there are seven states that have no legal restrictions on tobacco use that are applicable statewide for private-sector workplaces, restaurants and bars - Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming.

“Despite increased adoption of state and local smoke-free laws, approximately 88 million nonsmoking Americans aged 3 and older are still exposed to secondhand smoke each year,” the CDC said.

“More than half of children over age 3 are exposed to secondhand smoke.”


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