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(c) 2014 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Occupational Secondhand Smoke Exposures Continue in Some States

A recent report by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that depite potential disease smoking is not prohibited yet in some workplaces.


"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. Smoke-free laws that prohibit smoking in all indoor areas of a venue fully protect nonsmokers from involuntary exposure to SHS indoors. A Healthy People 2010 objective  called for enacting laws eliminating smoking in public places and worksites in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC); because this objective was not met by 2010, it was retained for Healthy People 2020 (renumbered as TU-13). To assess progress toward meeting this objective, CDC reviewed state laws restricting smoking in effect as of December 31, 2010. This report summarizes the changes in state smoking restrictions for private-sector worksites, restaurants, and bars that occurred from December 31, 2000 to December 31, 2010. The number of states (including DC) with laws that prohibit smoking in indoor areas of worksites, restaurants, and bars increased from zero in 2000 to 26 in 2010. However, regional disparities remain in policy adoption, with no southern state having adopted a smoke-free law that prohibits smoking in all three venues. The Healthy People 2020 target on this topic is achievable if current activity in smoke-free policy adoption is sustained nationally and intensified in certain regions, particularly the South.

"As of December 31, 2010, in addition to the 26 states with comprehensive smoke-free laws, 10 states had enacted laws that prohibit smoking in one or two, but not all three, of the venues included in this study. Additionally, eight states had passed less restrictive laws (e.g., laws allowing smoking in designated areas or areas with separate ventilation). Finally, seven states have no statewide smoking restrictions in place for private worksites, restaurants, or bars. Of note, only three southern states (Florida, Louisiana, and North Carolina) have laws that prohibit smoking in any two of the three venues examined in this report, and no southern state has a comprehensive state smoke-free law in effect.


Secondhand smoking is a recognized compensable condition for workers' compensation benefits. Recently a casino worker exposed to secondhand smoke was permitted by a court to obtain benefits for the lung cancer that he suffered.