A latest report has found that smokers in southern states can still locate numerous places to spread secondhand smoke to others. In fact, a federal government said that in the US Southeast no states have comprehensive smoke-free laws for the protection of nonsmokers from tobacco fumes.
Under such kind of law, smoking isn’t allowed in all indoor places of workplaces, restaurants and bars.
Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “We’ve made great progress in protecting many Americans from secondhand smoke exposure, but millions of Americans, especially those living in southeastern states, are still unprotected from this completely preventable health hazard”.
The number of states possessing comprehensive smoke-free laws has gone up from zero in 2000 to 26 by 2010. But the CDC noted that the progress has stuck after that period with the addition of just two more states in that list between 2010 and 2016.
Dr. Ernest Hawk, head of cancer prevention & population sciences at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, added that the lack of comprehensive statewide smoke-free laws in numerous US states points toward a key policy failure.
But slight progress has been there. Overall, the CDC report has found that roughly 60% of people in America are under the cover of comprehensive smoke-free laws at the state or local level, in comparison to only below 3% in 2000.
As part of the local anti-smoking laws, some residents put up in 14 of the 23 states get protection in the absence of comprehensive smoke-free laws.
A report published in STL Today revealed, “Smokers in southern states can still find plenty of places to spread secondhand smoke to others, a new report finds. In fact, no states in the U.S. Southeast have comprehensive smoke-free laws to protect nonsmokers from tobacco fumes, a federal government report says.”
The number of states with comprehensive smoke-free laws rose from zero in 2000 to 26 by 2010, including the District of Columbia. But progress has stalled: Only two more states were added to that list between 2010 and 2016, the CDC noted.
Local anti-smoking regulations also vary widely in the 14 states without comprehensive smoke-free laws, the report found. For example, local laws protect 60 percent of people in West Virginia. In Kentucky, South Carolina and Texas smoking laws cover about 30 percent of people. However, only 2.4 percent of people in Georgia, and less than 1 percent of people in Arkansas and Wyoming are protected by smoking laws, the findings showed.
According to a story published on the topic by PRNewswire, “Exposure to secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer, which together kill more than 41,000 American non-smokers every year. And even brief exposure to secondhand smoke harms health. Completely eliminating indoor smoking is the only way to fully protect non-smokers. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate secondhand smoke exposure.”
“Smoke-free laws provide a low-cost, high-impact benefit to the public’s health,” said Corinne Graffunder, Dr.P.H., director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “These laws substantially improve indoor air quality, help smokers quit, prevent youth and young adults from starting to smoke, change social norms about the acceptability of smoking, and reduce heart attack and asthma hospitalizations among non-smokers.”
Smoke-free laws can be extended to other types of tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes. Including e-cigarettes in state and local smoke-free laws protects non-users from exposure to aerosolized nicotine and other harmful components of e-cigarette vapor. Currently, seven states (California, Delaware, Hawaii, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, and Utah) include e-cigarettes in their statewide comprehensive smoke-free laws.