Economic effects of clean indoor air policies on bar and restaurant employment in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota (MN)
A new study suggests that clean indoor air policies have not raised unemployment rates in the restaurant and bar industries in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Researchers examined employment data in the two cities over a five-year period including the time clean indoor air policies were established for each. They found that the implementation of the policies was associated with a 3-4% increase in restaurant employment in both cities, a 5-6% increase in bar employment in Minneapolis, and a 1% non-significant decrease in bar employment in St. Paul. While this study does not account for other economic effects such as revenues, it does suggest that smokefree laws do not cause large short-term or long-term employment changes. Clean indoor air policies are the most effective way to protect workers from smoke exposure in the workplace. Click here to read the abstract of the study, published in Public Health Management and Practice.
Smokefree law associated with higher-than-expected taxable retail sales for bars and taverns in Washington State (WA)
The July issue of CDC's Preventing Chronic Disease publication contains a research article that describes changes in sales revenue in Washington State bars and taverns since December 2005, when the statewide smokefree law went into effect. Mike Boysun and Terry Reid from the Washington State Tobacco Prevention and Control Program played key roles in researching and creating this article. The study describes changes in sales revenue in Washington State bars and taverns since December 2005, when the statewide smokefree law went into effect. The study also identifies how the smokefree law has increased revenue to the state’s general fund. Smokefree policies protect hospitality employees' health, and this study contributes to the body of evidence that these policies do not harm bar and restaurant business. Click here to access the full article.
ANR Foundation releases quarterly update of smokefree lists, maps, and data
The Americans for Nonsmokers Rights Foundation has completed the July 2010 quarterly updates of its lists and maps of U.S. municipalities and states with 100% smokefree laws now in effect. Since the last update in April, three states (Michigan, Kansas, and Wisconsin) and twenty-one cities have enacted smokefree laws. The U.S. Virgin Islands have also passed a smokefree law that will cover all workplaces, restaurants, bars, and gaming facilities, scheduled to go into effect on May 11, 2011. As of July 5, 62.1% of Americans live in cities or states with smokefree non-hospitality workplaces, 73.8% in areas with smokefree restaurants, and 62.8% with freestanding bars; 46.9% are protected in all three. Click here to view a map showing the percentage of each state’s population covered by 100% smokefree restaurant and bar laws. This map reveals a stark, growing disparity between states, and can be used to support state and local smokefree air campaigns. Click here to view all other lists and maps. The next update will be available in October 2010.
California bill would require insurers to pay for stop-smoking drugs (CA)
If passed, a new piece of California legislation will require insurance companies to cover all FDA-approved smoking cessation medications. The law is intended to improve smokers’ access to cessation medications by removing financial barriers, thus making it easier to quit smoking. One analysis found that the bill could save the state $45 million in tobacco-related healthcare costs annually. Insurance companies assert that the law will lead to a windfall for drug companies, and may not actually have much of an effect on smoking cessation. Click here to read more, or click here to follow the progress of the bill.
D.C. law expands no-smoking area around buildings (DC)
A new law being implemented in the District of Columbia will limit smoking in outdoor public spaces in the district. Owners of private property and businesses will be able to post signs prohibiting smoking in public spaces within 25 feet of their building wall or the distance to the far side of the adjacent public sidewalk, whichever is less. The law is intended to discourage smokers from congregating around doorways. Critics of the law note that the law is unenforceable, since there are no penalties for violators. The law also tightens other tobacco regulations: minors caught buying cigarettes will be penalized with a $100 civil fine, tobacco retailers will be required to post more detailed health warnings about the dangers of smoking, and sales of blunt wraps will be banned, except in tobacco shops. Click here for more details.
Number of tobacco retailers drops by a third (IA)
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Division, there has been a major decrease in the number of businesses in Iowa that sell cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products. The division has been tracking the number of tobacco sales permits issued each year, finding that there has been a large drop from 2003 and 2004, when 5,500 permits were issued, to May 2010, when 3,300 permits were issued. Public health officials attribute the decline in permits to a decrease in the state smoking prevalence among adults and a 56% drop in per capita tobacco consumption since 2006. Iowa enacted a $1 tax increase on tobacco products in spring 2007 and the Iowa Smokefree Air Act took effect in July 2008. At 14%, the state has one of the lowest rates of adult smoking in the country. Read more here.
New poll reignites Indy smoking ban debate (IN)
Health advocates in Indianapolis are hoping that a new poll showing strong voter support for smokefree legislation will encourage government officials to reconsider moving forward with such a law. A survey of 500 voters in Indianapolis shows that 70% were supportive of laws prohibiting smoking in restaurants, bars, and other workplaces, and that 84% consider secondhand smoke to be a health hazard. Proponents of a smokefree law say that this survey provides evidence that a majority of residents desire such legislation, and the City-County Council and mayor should discuss it once again. A statewide smokefree law and a move to add bars, bowling alleys, and private clubs to Indianapolis’ current law were both unsuccessful earlier this year. Click here to read more, or click here to view the complete survey results.
Kansas goes smoke-free (KS)
A Kansas smokefree law prohibiting smoking in most bars, restaurants, and other public places, but exempting state-run casinos, tobacco shops, long-term care facilities, and some private clubs went into effect on July 1. The exemptions have resulted in two sets of legal challenges against the law from private clubs that were not included in the exemptions because they were licensed after January 1, 2009, and from Wichita-area bars arguing that the city’s partial smoking ban is actually more stringent than the state smokefree law. In a last-minute ruling on June 30, a district judge allowed smoking to continue in 31 private clubs that claimed that the January 2009 cutoff date was arbitrary and unfair. Wichita-area bars can also allow smoking in adult-only, well-ventilated smoking rooms, at least until a court hearing on August 19 (originally scheduled for July 15) determines if the city law is more stringent than the state law, which would allow the city law to override the state law. Read more here and here.
Senate votes to ban smoking in future casinos (MA)
In a 24-15 vote, the Massachusetts Senate has voted against a bill that would have allowed three state casinos to designate up to a quarter of their gambling floors as smoking sections. The bill would have exempted the newly licensed casinos from a 2004 law that prohibits smoking in restaurants, bars, and other workplaces, as long as the smoking sections had appropriate ventilation to minimize smoke exposure in the nonsmoking areas. According to opponents of the bill, studies have shown that there is no way to effectively prevent smoke from escaping smoking areas, so the health of patrons and employees would be at risk. Supporters of the amendment had claimed that smoking is part of the gambling experience, and that Massachusetts casinos would lose business to surrounding states’ casinos that do permit smoking. Click here to read more.
BHA pushes for smoke-free housing: Ban in Hub could be nation's largest (MA)
The Boston Housing Authority (BHA) is working to make all 64 of the city’s public housing developments smokefree by 2013. By implementing 100% smokefree public housing for all 27,000 residents in the city’s public housing developments, Boston would become the first city in Massachusetts and the largest housing authority in the nation to do so. In June, Washington-Beech became Boston’s first smokefree public housing development, and a meeting was recently held at a local university to launch the plan for expansion of the smokefree housing campaign. The BHA will include community debate and a public comment period in the planning process, which will lead up to the submission of a proposal to the Department of Housing and Urban Development in January 2011. Click here for more information.
State Sen. Ray Basham seeks to expand Michigan smoking ban to Detroit casinos (MI)
Senator Ray Basham of Michigan has introduced a bill that would remove exemptions from the state’s smokefree law for non-tribal casinos. The current smokefree law was passed in December 2009 after exemptions for casinos, cigar bars, tobacco shops, home offices, and vehicles were added to the original bill. Detroit-area casinos had successfully argued that prohibiting smoking in their establishments would be harmful to business, as patrons could travel to tribally-owned casinos or casinos in other states where smoking is allowed. Senator Basham says the bill should be passed because casino workers deserve the same safe working environment that restaurant and bar workers have. The new bill is currently being considered by the Senate’s Committee on Economic Development and Regulatory Reform. Read more here.
A move to ban smoking in cars with children (NY)
Lawmakers in New York are considering a bill that would make it illegal to smoke in cars when children under age 14 are present, in an effort to raise parents’ awareness of the dangers that secondhand smoke poses to their children. The law would be enforced similarly to traffic violations, with police officers citing violators for having lit tobacco products in a car containing a child, while the jurisdiction’s health department would handle the fines. The bill originally had penalties including jail time and a $500 fine, but lawmakers decided to make the law more educational than punitive, and decreased the maximum punishment to a $100 fine. The New York Assembly has approved the bill, which must now pass in the Senate. Arkansas, Louisiana, Maine, and California have all passed similar laws. Read more here.
Mayor leans toward a smoking ban at parks and beaches (NY)
New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg has announced that he is leaning toward proposing legislation that would prohibit smoking at city parks and beaches. Despite the city’s comprehensive indoor smokefree laws, a recent study showed that New Yorkers have cotinine levels significantly higher than the national average, possibly due to the city’s high population density. Those in support of extending the law to parks and beaches say it would reduce secondhand smoke exposure for residents while also saving millions of dollars in trash cleanup. Should the law be proposed, it would most likely have to be approved by the City Council. Click here to read more.
Smoking to be allowed again in some Oklahoma prisons (OK)
Tobacco use will no longer be prohibited at minimum-security prisons in Oklahoma, now that the corrections department has amended a 2004 ban on tobacco use in all state correctional facilities. Starting August 2, inmates will be allowed to purchase cigarettes at the prison commissary and smoke in designated outdoor areas. Officials say that health care costs, the primary reason for the original ban, are not a factor in minimum security prisons, where inmates serve shorter sentences and have more freedoms than those in higher-security prisons. Also contributing to the decision are problems with enforcement stemming from extremely low staffing levels due to budget cuts and black-market trading among inmates. There are no plans to expand smoking privileges to higher-security prisons. Click here to read more.
Wisconsin smoking ban goes into effect (WI)
Wisconsin became the 28th smoke-free state on July 5, when a comprehensive smokefree law went into effect. The new law, which was originally proposed nineteen years ago, prohibits smoking in workplaces, enclosed areas, and other public places, including hotels, sports arenas, and state-run facilities such as educational, correctional, and mental health facilities. Smoking is permitted in private residences and certain tobacco retailers and bars. Violators of the law can be fined $100 to $250. Click here to read more, or visit www.wibettersmokefree.com for fact sheets, frequently asked questions and information for business owners, employees, and patrons.
CMS proposes Medicare coverage for counseling to prevent tobacco use
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a proposal to cover tobacco cessation counseling for outpatient and hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries who use tobacco. The proposal states that counseling would consist of four intermediate (more than three minutes) or intensive (more than ten minutes) sessions provided by a qualified physician or Medicare-recognized provider. Users of this benefit could have two quit attempts per year, for a total of eight sessions. Currently, Medicare reimbursement for tobacco cessation counseling is limited to patients who have tobacco-related disease, with the exception of minimal counseling (less than three minutes). Following a comment period that ended in June, CMS will issue a final decision memorandum. Click here for more details, or click here to read the decision summary from CMS.
Tobacco regulation education from the CDC Office on Smoking and Health and Food and Drug Administration
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are seeking support in educating consumers, public health partners, and the general public about new tobacco regulations prohibiting the use of words like “light,” “low,” or “mild” on tobacco products. To aid OSH and the FDA in spreading the word about this regulation, tobacco control advocates can:
- Post a “Light/Low/Mild: No such thing” button on their organization’s website. Clicking on the button will take visitors to a website providing consumer-directed information about the regulations and links to other resources.
- Encourage others to send Health-e-Cards emphasizing the value of being tobacco-free and explaining that there is no safe cigarette.
- Inform others of a new widget on FDA’s website. Widgets enable users to embed content from another website onto their website, which will be automatically updated.
- Follow CDCTobaccoFree on Twitter and re-tweeting messages related to the regulations.
- Become a fan of the CDC’s Facebook page and share new “Light/Low/Mild: No such thing” status updates.
- Tell others about a new posting on CDC’s Everyday Health Widget (coming soon)
- View OSH’s new entry on CDC’s MySpace page
- Follow OSH on GovLoop, a social networking site for the federal government community.
- Subscribe to CDC’s Smoking and Tobacco Use main RSS feed
Hamas bans women from smoking water pipes in cafes (Gaza Strip)
Rulers of the Islamic militant group Hamas have instituted a new law that bans women from smoking water pipes in cafes in the Gaza Strip, claiming that it is inappropriate, causes divorces, and harms their overall public image. Plainclothes officers verbally delivered the order to café owners without prior warning, causing some initial confusion over the extent of the law. Representatives of the café and restaurant union say the ban will cost café owners approximately 10% of their income, and hope to challenge the law. Muslim law does not ban women from smoking, although it is looked down upon traditionally, making it unclear how strictly the ban will be enforced or if resistance to the new law will cause Hamas to back down, as it has in some cases in the past. Click here to read more.
German state bans smoking at Oktoberfest (Germany)
Citizens of Bavaria, Germany, have voted to enact a smokefree law that would prohibit smoking in all restaurants, bars, cafes, and beer tents. The regulation will overturn a law that eased smoking restrictions in 2009, allowing smoking in bars under 800 square feet and beer tents. The law will go into effect on August 1, with an exception that allows limited smoking at this year’s Oktoberfest. Support for the referendum was considerable at 61%, despite a low voter turnout of 37.7%. Read more here.
Russia adopts "smoking kills" cigarette warnings (Russia)
Russia’s Ministry of Health and Social Development will be requiring cigarette manufacturers to print warning messages on cigarette packages in an effort to fight tobacco use in the country. Similar to European Union standards, the regulation calls for one of twelve health warnings to be printed on each package so that it covers at least 30% of the front and 50% of the back. The tobacco companies can change the messages once a year, and are allowed to embellish them with pictures until future rules requiring standard photographs are put into effect. The packaging must also provide information on the amount of nicotine and resins in the cigarettes. These regulations are designed to encourage smoking cessation and prevention in Russia, where an estimated 60% of Russian men are smokers and 350,000 to 500,000 Russians die from smoking related causes each year. Click here or here to read more.
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