Published April 21, 2011
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday said that if smoking-ban laws in the U.S. keep up at the rate they have been going for the past 10 years, the entire nation will have heavy restrictions on smoking by 2020—or sooner.
More than half of all states have laws against smoking in places that are major sources of secondhand smoke, like indoor areas of private sector worksites, restaurants and bars. In just the past 10 years, 25 states have jumped on the non-smoking bandwagon.
"Eliminating smoking from worksites, restaurants and bars is a low-cost, high-impact strategy that will protect nonsmokers and allow them to live healthier, longer, more productive lives while lowering health care costs associated with secondhand smoke," Thomas R. Frieden, CDC director said in a press release. "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."
Despite the increase in these laws, more than 88 million non-smokers in the U.S. older than 3 years of age are exposed to secondhand smoke each year, according to the press release. In 2010, a surgeon general's report reported that no level of exposure to tobacco smoke is safe, and can lead to organ damage. It can also negatively affect your DNA.
"Secondhand smoke is responsible for 46,000 heart disease deaths and 3,400 lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers each year," Ursula Bauer, director of the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, said in a press release. "Completely prohibiting smoking in all public places and workplaces is the only way to fully protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke exposure."
The CDC study was published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.