Public opinion lights the fire for politicians to adopt anti-smoking bans
New research has examined the diffusion of smoke-free policy though the lens of the social contagion theory. This theory states that people will become aware of and interested in new policies occurring in neighboring states. Subsequently, home state officials will respond to this change of public opinion by adopting policies similar to those in the neighboring states. In this publication, analyses of both individual and aggregate data suggest that the social contagion model explains past smoke-free policy diffusion in the U.S. The author believes the social diffusion model is especially true for smoke-free policy because these policies are typically easy for the public to understand and experience. The author also notes that this study provides evidence that public opinion is an important driver of smoke-free policies. Click here to read more and here to read the full text of the study published in the January 2012 issue of The Journal of Politics.
Too many kids breathe others' smoke in cars: CDC
New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that one in five high school and middle school students ride in cars while others are smoking. Researchers analyzed data from the 2009 National Youth Tobacco Survey to find out how often students rode in cars while someone was smoking. The results show that 22% of teens and preteens were exposed to secondhand smoke. While this number is down from 40% exposure in 2000, youths are still at risk for breathing problems and allergy symptoms from secondhand smoke exposure. The report calls for greater restriction of smoking in cars with young people present in order to prevent this detrimental exposure. Read more here and click here to read the study abstract published in Pediatrics.
Smoke-free housing policy resources from Public Health Law and Policy
In conjunction with the California Department of Public Health, Public Health Law and Policy has created a model ordinance and other materials to help cities and counties restrict smoking in multi-unit residences like apartment buildings and condominium complexes. Lawmakers across the country can adapt the model, as state and local law permits. Click here to view the resources.
Updated document on preemption of smoke-free air laws in the U.S.
Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) has released an updated document that explains the history of smoke-free air policy preemption in the United States, its negative impact on public health, why it’s important to both protect and restore local control for smoke-free air, and provides suggestions on how policymakers can get involved in the efforts to restore local control. Click here to view the document.
Interactive tobacco map provides latest data on state smoking laws
A new interactive map from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation gives policymakers and advocates a nationwide picture of continuing state efforts on key tobacco control policies. The tool is actually comprised of three distinct maps, each focusing on a different aspect of tobacco policy. The three maps provide state-by-state breakdowns on smoke-free laws, cigarette tax rates and total tobacco control spending. The breakdowns include population, timeline and other information to help present a complete picture of each state’s efforts. Click here to view the map.
New tobacco-free policy toolkit from the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center
The Smoking Cessation Leadership Center (SCLC) is now offering a new national toolkit for creating and implementing tobacco-free policies in community healthcare settings. The toolkit was developed for a broad continuum of healthcare organizations and treatment facilities, particularly those organizations serving persons with mental illnesses and addictions. The materials are intended for administrators, direct providers, and support staff of organizations considering or implementing tobacco-free policies. Click here to review the toolkit.
New community health brief on smoke-free policies, FDA legislation, and protecting tribal sovereignty
The National Native Network has released two new policy briefs. The first provides information about the network and the resources it provides to assist tribal leaders in protecting the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives through the development, implementation, and enforcement of smoke-free policies. The brief reviews smoke-free policy benefits, rationale, policy types, and provides information on the initial steps toward planning, implementation, enforcement and evaluation of these policies. Tribal leaders can use this policy brief as a capacity-building tool to inspire and support the tribe to pass smoke-free ordinances. Click here to see the document. The second policy brief reviews how the FDA’s Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act can strengthen tribal health. The brief also outlines how policies from the Tobacco Control Act can be implemented while respecting the sacred traditional use of tobacco. Click here to read the brief.
Heart attacks, health costs down since Rhode Island smoking ban (RI)
New research from the Rhode Island Department of Health shows that heart attacks and their associated medical costs have decreased since the 2005 implementation of the Smoke-Free Public Places and Workplaces Act. Since the smoke-free policy was enacted, heart attack rates have dropped 28.4% and total associated costs have decreased 14.6%, with potential savings of more than $6 million. This data illustrates the positive effects that a smoke-free policy can have on a state’s physical and economic health. Read more by clicking here.
Bill calls for statewide ban on smoking in public places (AL)
An Alabama legislator has introduced a bill that would make all public places, including bars and restaurants, smoke-free. Under the proposal, House Bill 383, individual smokers would be fined $100 for violating the smoke-free policy, and business owners could face fines of up to $1,000. The bill is waiting to be heard in the House Committee on Health. A similar bill has been filed in the Senate, except the Senate bill would require a vote by the public to pass the law as a constitutional amendment. Read more by clicking here and track the bill’s progress here.
California Assembly votes to outlaw smoking on hospital campuses (CA)
The California Assembly passed a bill that would make all hospital campuses in the state smoke-free. Assembly member Jerry Hill, the bill’s sponsor, believes that the smoke-free policy will encourage patients, employees and visitors not to smoke while simultaneously protecting everyone at hospitals from secondhand smoke exposure. The bill will now move to the California Senate. Click here to read more and track AB 1278 by clicking here.
High school smoking ban (IA)
Iowa’s House Education Committee has approved a bill that will ban the use of any nicotine products on school property, with the exception of tobacco cessation products. The bill also states that school boards may remove individuals who violate the rule and ban them from school grounds. Current state policy prohibits the use or possession of tobacco products by students. Click here to read more and click here to track Senate Bill 468, which will soon be heard by the House.
Illinois lawmakers ponder loosening smoking ban (IL)
Illinois Representative Anthony DeLuca has proposed a bill that would allow casinos and bars to apply for smoking licenses, which would exempt them from the 2008 comprehensive smoke-free Illinois policy. DeLuca states that his aim is not to lift the smoking ban, but instead to let local governments decide if they want to let businesses apply for smoking licenses. A representative of the American Lung Association believes the proposed bill would weaken the state’s strong smoke-free policy, putting state residents’ health at risk and creating an unfair playing field for businesses. Read more here and click here to track House Bill 4012.
Indiana House again passes smoking ban (IN)
The Indiana House has passed a bill that would make almost all public places and workplaces smoke-free. One of the sponsoring senators believes that the bill’s chances of passing have increased due to greater awareness of the dangers of secondhand smoke. A smoke-free policy has passed the House for the past five years, but has never passed the Senate. This new bill includes a compromise that would give bars and taverns an 18-month exemption from the smoke-free policy. The co-chair of the Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air says that the exemption period would allow the General Assembly a chance to revisit possibility of permanently making bars and taverns smoke-free in future legislative sessions. The chair of the committee that will hear the bill in the Senate does not foresee the Senate making significant changes to the bill, but it is unclear if the bill will pass the Senate. Click here to read more and click here to track HB 1063, which is currently in the House.
Statewide smoking ban proposed (KY)
Kentucky Representative Susan Westrom has introduced a bill that would make restaurants, workplaces and other indoor public places smoke-free statewide. Public health advocates are working to gather support, saying that a smoke-free policy would decrease the smoking rate in Kentucky as well as decrease healthcare costs for the state. Opponents of the bill believe that smoke-free policies should be left up to individual towns and cities. The bill is currently in the House Health and Welfare Committee. Click here to read more and click here to track HB 289.
Bill proposed to ban smoking (MS)
A Mississippi senator has introduced a bill that would fine adults $50 for smoking in cars when children under the age of seventeen are present. The bill is aimed at protecting children from the negative health effects of secondhand smoke. Senate Bill 2016 is currently in a Senate committee. Click here to read more.
Bill would restrict smoking in cars (OH)
Ohio Senator Charleta Tavares has proposed a bill that would prohibit people from smoking in cars if children under the age of six are present. The bill also stipulates that those caught smoking with children in a vehicle could face monetary charges based on the number of smoking offenses on record. Tavares believes that individuals should have a right to decide when and where to smoke, but they should not be allowed to put others in danger of being exposed to secondhand smoke. Click here to read more, or click here to track SB 27, which has been introduced to the Senate Highways & Transportation Committee.
Panel approves bill giving Oklahoma cities power to ban smoking (OK)
A bill that would give local governments in Oklahoma the power to make public places smoke-free has passed a House committee. The bill would repeal a state law, which currently prevents cities and towns from enacting stronger smoke-free laws than the state enacts, also referred to as a preemption law. The president of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association says that his group opposes the bill because having different regulations in different cities will be confusing for businesses. Nonetheless, public health advocates in the state know that reducing tobacco use and reducing exposure to secondhand smoke are among the most important things state and local governments can do for the health of their citizens. House Bill 2267 will now go to the full House for a vote. Click here to read more and click here to track the bill.
Put those out: Oklahoma Gov. Fallin bans tobacco use on all state property (OK)
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has signed an executive order making all state government property tobacco-free. State agencies will have six months to implement the new measure, and the state will educate employees so that they have resources for smoking cessation. Fallin stresses that tobacco use is not only harmful to the health of Oklahomans, but also negatively impacts the economy as tobacco-related illnesses increase healthcare costs. The order is expected to cause 1,200 state employees to quit smoking, and should save $5.2 million each year in lost productivity and medical claims. Click here to read more.
RI may snuff out smoking on its public beaches (RI)
Rhode Island Representative Richard Morrison has introduced a bill, HB 7166, that would make outdoor recreation areas smoke-free, including public parks, pedestrian malls and public beaches. This legislation is intended to protect individuals from secondhand smoke exposure as well as cut down on cigarette butt litter. At a recent hearing, although no one testified in opposition of the legislation, state officials expressed concerns about the enforceability of the policy. A vote has not yet been scheduled. Click here to read more.
Utah House passes ban on hookah smoking (UT)
The Utah House has approved a bill that would make it illegal to use hookah and e-cigarettes in public places, but has given a five-year exemption to some hookah bars and e-cigarette shops. Currently, hookah and e-cigarette use is not regulated because only tobacco is covered under Utah’s Indoor Clean Air Act. A representative from the Utah Department of Health believes the five-year exemption is important because it will give the Legislature time to reassess the issue in the future based on new data. Click here to read the full story, or click here for additional background information. Click here to track the bill.
Senate panel OKs anti-smoking bills (VA)
The Virginia Senate has passed two smoke-free bills. If passed, Senate Bill 467 would make school grounds smoke-free, which is expected to protect children from secondhand smoke and reduce the likelihood that children will start to smoke. Senate Bill 468 would make the state executive, legislative and judicial offices, as well as local government offices, smoke-free. However, localities will be permitted to opt-out of making their government buildings smoke-free. Both bills are now under consideration by the House of Delegates. Click here to read more.
Smoke-free laws lead to less smoking at home
Smoke-free laws have prompted smokers in Europe to create smoke-free home policies, according to new research. Data were analyzed from France, Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands before and after comprehensive smoke-free policies took effect, and these data were compared against control data collected before the smoke-free policy was enacted in the United Kingdom. Not only did the smoke-free laws increase the prevalence of smoke-free home policies overall, but smokers who were considering quitting or had children at home were more likely to make their homes smoke-free. Among those who continued to smoke, smoking frequency also decreased. The researchers believe the results show that smoke-free legislation does not prompt people to smoke more in their homes, but may in fact improve the health of smokers and their families. Click here to read more, or click here to read the abstract of the study in the journal Tobacco Control.
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