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Smoke-Free Laws Moving Ahead in U.S.
Date:4/21/2011

THURSDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking bans in workplaces, restaurants and bars across the United States are now in place in half the states, and all such venues across the country could be smoke-free by 2020, government researchers reported Thursday.

Indoor areas of worksites, restaurants and bars are major sources of secondhand smoke, and approximately 88 million nonsmoking Americans 3 and older are still exposed to it each year, said the researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a detailed report using 10 years of data on state smoking restrictions from the CDCs State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System database, the researchers found that:

  • 25 states and the District of Columbia have enacted comprehensive smoke-free laws in workplaces, restaurants and bars. The move began with Delaware in 2002, New York in 2003, Massachusetts in 2004, and Rhode Island and Washington in 2005. In 2006 and 2007, Arizona, Colorado, D.C., Hawaii, New Jersey, Minnesota, New Mexico and Ohio enacted laws; Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont and Wisconsin acted in 2008- 2010.
  • Ten states have laws that ban smoking in at least one or two of the three venues.
  • Eight states have less-restrictive smoking laws, which allow smoking in designated areas or in areas with separate ventilation.
  • Seven states still have no smoking restrictions for any of the three venues: Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The study appears in the April 22 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

"Eliminating smoking from worksites, restaurants and bars is a low-cost, high-impact strategy that will protect nonsmokers and allow them to live healthier, longer, more productive lives while lowering health care costs associated with seco
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