CDC: Half of states don't ban smoking

April 21, 2011 at 9:21 PM   |   Comments

ATLANTA, April 21 (UPI) -- Despite more state and local workplace smoke-free laws, about 88 million non-smoking Americans age 3 and older are still exposed each year, U.S. officials say.

"Eliminating smoking from work sites, restaurants and bars is a low-cost, high-impact strategy that will protect non-smokers and allow them to live healthier, longer, more productive lives while lowering healthcare costs associated with secondhand smoke," Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said in a statement. "While there has been a lot of progress over the past decade, far too many Americans continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke at their workplaces, increasing their risk of cancer and heart attacks."

A study published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said 25 states and the District of Columbia have enacted these comprehensive public area smoke-free laws during the past 10 years.

Seven states -- Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming -- have no statewide smoking restrictions in place for private work sites, restaurants or bars.

The report lists the 10 states that have laws prohibiting smoking in workplaces and restaurants, but not bars. Other states have less restrictive laws that allow smoking in designated areas or areas with separate ventilation, the report said.

The study is at: www.cdc.gov/mmwr.

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