Talk about strange bedfellows: Benefits pros and the feds now have a common enemy – smoking.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is calling on all states to enact laws that prohibit smoking in all indoor business areas and public places.
The CDC hopes that by 2020 all 50 states and the District of Columbia will have enacted such laws.
To assess the progress toward meeting that goal, the CDC recently reviewed all the state laws restricting smoking that were in effect as of December 31, 2010.
Here’s what it found:
- 25 states and the District of Columbia had laws in place prohibiting smoking in indoor areas of worksites, restaurants and bars
- 10 states had laws prohibiting smoking in one or two (but not all three) venues
- 8 states had less restrictive laws in place (which allowed smoking in designated areas), and
- 7 states had no state-wide smoking restrictions.
Prior to 2000, no state had a law on the books prohibiting smoking in businesses. So if states continue to adopt smoke-free laws at this rate — and legislative activity is intensified in certain regions (like the South) — the 2020 goal is achievable, the CDC says.
The feds involvement isn’t necessarily to protect of the health of current and future smokers, its primary goal is to protect the health of those who might be exposed to secondhand smoke.
According to the CDC, secondhand smoke exposure results in an estimated 46,000 heart disease deaths and 3,400 lung cancer deaths among nonsmoking adults every year.
Are you in favor of the CDC’s initiative to ban smoking at indoor worksites and public places? Share your opinions in the Reply box below.