CDC Predicts More State Smoking Bans; California Could Strengthen Its Law
All 50 states could have smoking bans in place for restaurants, bars and worksites by 2020 if current trends continue, according to a report released on Friday by CDC, the AP/Washington Post reports (AP/Washington Post, 4/21).
From 2000 to 2010, 25 states and the District of Columbia enacted laws that ban smoking in each of the three types of venues, while 10 states prohibited smoking in one or two of the venues, the report found (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 4/21).
Almost half of U.S. residents now are covered by comprehensive bans, according to the report (AP/Washington Post, 4/21). It also noted that eight states have less restrictive laws, such as requiring smoking areas with separate ventilation ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 4/21).
The report noted the existence of regional disparities in adopting smoking bans. For example, the report states that "no southern state [has] adopted a smoke-free law that prohibits smoking in all three venues." However, the report noted that "many communities in these states have adopted comprehensive local smoke-free laws" (Cevallos, "Booster Shots," HealthKey/Los Angeles Times, 4/21).
Meanwhile, seven states still have no indoor smoking restrictions. They are:
- South Carolina;
- West Virginia; and
Observers Agree With Report's Prediction
Tim McAfee, director of CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, said that although it is not "a foregone conclusion" that all states will have bans by 2020, "Iâm relatively bullish we'll at least get close to that number."
Opponents of smoking bans said they foresee nationwide bans. Gary Nolan, director of a smokers' rights group, said he would not be surprised if smoking is banned in all states within the next decade. He noted that public health officials and other groups have pressured bars and businesses to implement their own antismoking rules (AP/Washington Post, 4/12).
California Bill Seeks To Close Loopholes
In 1994, California passed a law banning smoking in enclosed areas of most workplaces. However, the state built exceptions into the law that allowed smoking in:
- Areas of hotel and motel lobbies;
- Break rooms;
- Businesses with five or fewer workers;
- Tobacco stores; and
Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) has introduced legislation (SB 575) that would close the loopholes of the smoking law but still would allow dedicated outdoor smoking areas. In 2007, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) vetoed a version of the bill.
The new measure is expected to be passed by state lawmakers and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D), the Orange County Register reports (Hall, Orange County Register, 4/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.