Smoke-Free Air: The Essential Facts

More than 200 million people worldwide are now protected by comprehensive 100% smokefree
air laws, and the number is growing rapidly.1 Three major developments are driving the global
trend toward smokefree air:

1. There is overwhelming consensus among medical and scientific authorities worldwide
that secondhand smoke is a major public health threat and that the only effective way
to protect the public from secondhand smoke is to enact comprehensive smokefree air
laws that cover all indoor workplaces and public places, including all restaurants, bars,
and other hospitality venues.
2. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) – the international tobacco
control treaty – imposes a legal obligation on the more than 150 countries that have
ratified the treaty to adopt effective smokefree air laws.3 Guidelines adopted by the
treaty’s governing body in 2007 make it clear that only comprehensive smokefree laws
will meet the treaty’s requirements.
3. Smokefree air laws have proven to be popular, effective and well-respected in diverse
places such as Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and
Uruguay. These successful laws are serving as models for the rest of the world.

Health harms of secondhand smoke

Secondhand smoke, also known as environmental tobacco smoke, is a complex mixture of
some 4,000 chemical compounds, including almost 70 known or probable human carcinogens.6
Health and scientific authorities around the world agree that secondhand smoke is a serious
threat to human health and that effective action must be taken to reduce exposure. Their
conclusions include:

• Secondhand smoke is a major cause of disease in non-smokers, including lung cancer,
coronary heart disease, and cardiac death.
• The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found that exposure to
secondhand smoke causes cancer in humans.
• There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke.
• The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that each year about 200,000
workers die because of exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace.

“The evidence is clear. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke.
Many countries have already taken action. I urge all countries that have not yet done so to
take this immediate and important step to protect the health of all by passing laws requiring
all indoor workplaces and public places to be 100% smoke-free.”

• Approximately 700 million children – almost half of the world’s children – are exposed to
secondhand smoke.
• Each year, approximately 50 million pregnant women worldwide are exposed to
secondhand smoke during their pregnancy.

Smokefree laws save lives and protect employee health
• Numerous studies have documented significant declines in hospital admissions for heart
attacks following implementation of comprehensive smokefree laws.
• Respiratory symptoms among bar workers in Scotland decreased by 26 percent after
smokefree legislation was implemented in 2006; asthmatic bar workers experienced
reduced airway inflammation and reported an improved quality of life.
• Seven out of every ten smokers want to quit smoking, and smokefree policies
provide them with public environments free from any pressure or temptation to
smoke.
• One international review18 concluded that smokefree workplaces lead to:
o 4% decrease in the number of smokers
o 3 fewer cigarettes a day smoked by continuing smokers

Only comprehensive smokefree laws are effective; partial measures do not work
• Guidelines for implementing the FCTC’s legally binding smokefree air requirements urge
governments to protect “all persons” from secondhand smoke, not just “special” or
“vulnerable” populations; the guidelines also call for 100% coverage of indoor
workplaces and public places, and declare that the use of ventilation, filtration, and
“designated smoking areas” are not effective.
• The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers
(ASHRAE), the leading association of ventilation professionals, has concluded that “the
only means of effectively eliminating health risk associated with indoor exposure is to
ban smoking activity.”
• The U.S. Surgeon General also has concluded that ventilation and filtration technologies,
and separation of smokers and non-smokers within the same air space, do not provide
effective protection from the health risks of secondhand smoke.
• Designated smoking rooms (DSRs) and ventilation systems are costly as well as
ineffective. Large businesses can afford to install them, but small businesses often
cannot. Laws that allow DSRs have been overturned because they create unfair
competition.

Smokefree laws are popular
• In New Zealand, support for smokefree bars, pubs, and nightclubs rose from 61% of
adults in 2004 to 81% in 2006.
• In Ireland, the smokefree law was supported by 93% of the population in 2005,
compared with 67% immediately before the law was introduced.
• In Scotland, more than 53,000 people submitted written responses to a national
consultation on smokefree public places, representing more than 1% of the total
population. Eighty percent said that they supported a smokefree law, giving the
government an enormous mandate for legislation.

Smokefree laws do not harm business
• Smokefree legislation in the UK is estimated to save the economy between 1.1 and 1.6
billion pounds per year.
• Well-designed, independent studies have shown that smokefree laws do not have a
negative economic impact on the hospitality or tourism industry.
• Benefits for employers include increased productivity, reduced sickness in employees
from smoking and secondhand smoke exposure, reduced injuries, and reduced risk of
fire damage. In Taiwan, such benefits have been quantified at over US$1 billion a
year.
• If all U.S. workplaces were smokefree, it would save over $60 million in medical costs
within the first year and an estimated $280 million in the first seven years.
• In New York City, business tax receipts in the city’s bars and restaurants increased by
8.7%, and hospitality sector jobs increased by more than 10,000, in the first year after
the city’s smokefree law took effect.
• The U.S. Surgeon General examined numerous studies from states and local
communities and concluded that smokefree policies and regulations do not have an
adverse economic impact on the hospitality industry.

Smokefree legislation is essential; voluntary measures do not work

• Tobacco companies promote voluntary policies ahead of legislation because voluntary
policies do not work. Only simple, clear, enforceable, and comprehensive legislation will
ensure smokefree air to employees and the public.39 The tobacco industry funds
schemes such as “Courtesy of Choice,” which urge businesses to allow smoking in their
establishments.
• In the UK, after more than five years of a voluntary code, the majority of bars did not
comply with the scheme. Overall, fewer than 1% of all bars were smokefree, and the
majority of restaurants permitted smoking.


First, say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. Health Service Food and Human Resources: Duty free smoke brands

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