American Lung Association Reflects on Progress of Smokefree Air Laws at the State Level

Washington, D.C. (April 21, 2011)

In response to a new report published today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Lung Association celebrates the tremendous progress that has been made—and highlights the important work still to be done in 23 states—to protect workers and patrons of businesses from secondhand smoke.

In today’s issue of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC published “Smoke-free Laws for Worksites, Restaurants, and Bars - United States, 2000-2010,” a review of the passage of smokefree laws at the state level over a ten-year period. While only one state—California—would have met the American Lung Association’s Smokefree Air Challenge in 2000, that number grew to 27 states plus the District of Columbia in 2010.

“It is clear that many state legislators recognize the debilitating impact of secondhand smoke on public health—and they are taking crucial steps to safeguard the public,” said Charles D. Connor, president and CEO of the American Lung Association. “However, we are only halfway there. More needs to be done to introduce smokefree laws in states without them—and even to protect smokefree laws in states where they are under attack.”

While much progress has been made in the past ten years, there are 23 states that have failed to meet the American Lung Association’s Smokefree Air Challenge, which calls on all 50 states and the District of Columbia to pass laws prohibiting smoking in all public places and workplaces, including restaurants and bars.

In some states—such as Illinois, Minnesota, Nevada and Ohio—the existing strong laws are under assault. While those who oppose smokefree laws argue that they will negatively impact business at restaurants and bars, there have been zero credible studies showing a negative financial impact from smokefree laws on restaurants and bars overall. In fact, many people with asthma are able to frequent such establishments once they are smokefree.

“There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and eliminating smoking in all indoor spaces is the only way to fully protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke,” said Connor. “The American Lung Association will continue to fight to make sure everyone in all 50 states can enjoy clean, smokefree air where they work and play.”

For more information on smokefree laws and policies, click here.

Those who wish to join the fight for smokefree air may sign our Smokefree Air Challenge petition.

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About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a Charity Navigator Four Star Charity and holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.LungUSA.org.