State Smoking Restrictions for Private-Sector Worksites, Restaurants, and Bars

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Reported by J Chriqui, PhD, J O'Connor, JD, MayaTech Corporation, Silver Spring, MD. S Babb, MPH, NA Blair, MPH, G Vaughn, A MacNeil, MPH, Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC.Secondhand smoke is a known carcinogen.1 Exposure to secondhand smoke causes approximately 35,000 heart disease deaths and 3,000 lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in the United States every year.2 Implementing policies that establish smoke-free environments is the most effective approach to reducing secondhand smoke exposure among nonsmokers.1Smoking restrictions and smoke-free policies can take the form of laws or regulations implemented at the state or local level or of voluntary policies implemented by private employers and businesses.Smoking restrictions limit smoking to certain areas within a venue; smoke-free policies ban smoking within the entire venue. One of the national health objectives for 2010 is to establish laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia that prohibit or restrict smoking in public places and worksites.A related objective calls for all worksites to voluntarily implement policies that prohibit or restrict smoking. To assess progress toward meeting the first objective, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed the status of state laws restricting smoking as of December 31, 2004, updating a 1999 study that reported on such laws as of December 31, 1998.3This report summarizes the changes in state smoking restrictions for private-sector worksites, restaurants, and bars that occurred during 1999 to 2004. The findings indicate an increase in the number and restrictiveness of state laws regulating smoking in private-sector worksites, restaurants, and bars from 1999 through 2004.At the end of 2004, however, 16 states still had no restrictions on smoking in any of the three settings considered. Although secondhand smoke exposure among US nonsmokers has decreased sharply in recent years, a substantial portion of nonsmokers continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke.4Four LevelsThe smoking restrictions in effect in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia as of December 31, 1998, and December 31, 2004, were categorized into one of four levels for each of the three settings included in this study.These settings were selected because worksites are a major source of secondhand smoke exposure for adult nonsmokers,1 and because workers in restaurants and bars are exposed to especially high levels of secondhand smoke.5The four levels are as follows:No restrictions.Designated smoking areas required or allowed.No smoking allowed or designated smoking areas allowed if separately ventilated.No smoking allowed (i.e., 100% smoke-free).These levels apply only to indoor areas of these settings.The data were collected from the CDC's State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation (STATE) System database, which contains tobacco-related epidemiologic and economic data and information on state tobacco-related legislation.6The data used for this report are collected quarterly from an online database of state laws, analyzed by using a coding scheme and decision rules, and transferred into the STATE System database. The STATE System tracks state smoking restrictions in government worksites, private-sector worksites, restaurants, commercial and home-based child care centers, and other settings, including bars, shopping malls, grocery stores, enclosed arenas, public transportation, hospitals, prisons, and hotels and motels.Tobacco-control personnel in state health departments reviewed and commented on the coding of smoking restrictions in their states.Laws enacted before December 31, 2004, but not effective until after that date are not reflected in this report.

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