Courtesy of Clean Air Lawrence
Can exposure to the dangerous effects of secondhand smoke be reduced?
We can reduce exposure by passing smoke-free ordinances for public places and all workplaces, including bars and restaurants. We don't allow restaurants to serve food containing dangerous chemicals. So why should we allow the air to be polluted with dangerous chemicals? No one should have to breathe toxic substances when working in or frequenting a public place. More than 3,010 municipalities in the United States now restrict where smoking is allowed.
Would better ventilation systems solve the problem?
Non-smoking sections do not eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke, no matter how extensive and advanced the ventilation system is. Smoke knows no boundaries.
What are the benefits of smoking restrictions for the general public?
Smoking bans protect the rights of non-smokers and workers to breathe clean air. Smoke-free workplaces reduce the incidence of smoke-related illnesses, thereby helping to reduce the burden on taxpayers of footing the bill for uninsured hospitality workers with smoking-related illnesses and diseases. Smoke-free ordinances also encourage smokers to quit or reduce the number of cigarettes smoked per day, and can influence future behaviors and attitudes about smoking.
What are the economic benefits of smoking restrictions?
Smoke-free workplaces reduce the cost of health insurance provided to employees by employers. Non-smoking establishments also save money on cleaning, maintenance and other insurance costs. For example, the risk of fire is much lower.
What are the economic costs of smoking?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the economic costs of smoking are estimated to be nearly $3,400 per smoker per year.
Shouldn't restaurants be allowed to decide for themselves whether or not to allow smoking inside?
Restaurants, bars and other places that serve food or drink are heavily regulated by local and state governments. For instance temperatures at which food must be stored are regulated. Raw food can't be stored next to other food. Sprinkler systems are required in case of fire. The list goes on. This is all to protect these establishments' workers and patrons, just as a smoking ban requiring smoke-free air would do.
Won't restaurant and bar revenues decline if smoking is restricted city-wide?
Studies of smoke-free laws in many states and localities have shown that smoke-free ordinances overall do not affect restaurant or bar revenues. Likewise, smoke-free laws had no impact on hotel revenues.