Southern states falling behind on smoking bans: CDC

By: Mohan Garikiparithi | Health News | Sunday, June 26, 2016 - 10:30 AM

Southern states falling behind on smoking bansSouthern states are falling behind when it comes to implementing smoking bans, according to the CDC. The CDC reports that no state in the Southeast has comprehensive smoke-free laws to protect nonsmokers from second-hand smoke. These laws would put a ban on smoking on all indoor areas including restaurants, bars, and workplaces.

Director of the CDC Dr. Tom Frieden 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.”

In the year 2000, no state had a comprehensive smoking law, but the number rose to 26 by 2010. Unfortunately, this number has remained quite stagnant between 2010 and 2016, with only two more states making laws. Dr. Ernest Hawk, head of cancer prevention & population sciences at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, added, “The lack of comprehensive statewide smoke-free laws in some U.S. states represents a key policy failure.”

Exposure to secondhand smoke is deadly and kills over 41,000 nonsmokers annually as a result of heart disease and cancer combined. Even the smallest amount of exposure is enough to pose a real threat to health, so eliminating indoor smoking is just one of the ways to protect nonsmokers.

Corinne Graffunder, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, added, “Smoke-free laws provide a low-cost, high-impact benefit to the public’s 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.”

The findings were published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.


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Sources:
http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0623-smoke-free-laws.html


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