Today the Center For Disease Control’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report affirms that secondhand smoke is still a serious public health problem for children and adults. Millions of Americans are still exposed to secondhand smoke in job settings like bars and casinos. While many workplaces are smokefree due to a local or state smokefree law, many other workplaces still allow smoking. Since people spend most of their waking hours at work, smoking in the workplace causes a great deal of harm to both employers and employees. Others are still exposed to drifting secondhand smoke in shared air settings like apartment buildings and in public places. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Even a little exposure causes big health risks.
Nearly 50 cities now have laws ensuring smokefree air in all multi-unit housing. Most recently we celebrated Emeryville, California’s new ordinance that will bring smokefree air to a wide reach of people.
Hundreds of cities now have strong local laws for smokefree workplace protections. Baton Rouge recently celebrated the six-month anniversary of its ordinance which brought clean, healthy indoor air to the city’s casino, bar, and hospitality workforce, resulting in a 98.8% improvement in indoor air quality.
Unfortunately, many states have been slow to close gaps in smokefree protections. This is due to decades of tobacco industry lobbying and campaign contributions designed to undermine smokefree protections.