As of 2010, 26 states in the U.S. impose a comprehensive ban on smoking in restaurants, bars and the workplace. This number represents a dramatic increase from the beginning of the decade: in 2000, zero states enforced such a ban.
The CDC is optimistic about these figures. Based on the current pace of anti-smoking legislation, officials believe indoor smoking could be completely banned throughout the nation by 2020.
“It is by no means a foregone conclusion that we’ll get there by 2020,” said Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health.
But the success of the smoking ban movement has been astounding, and seems to be accelerating, he added. “I’m relatively bullish we’ll at least get close to that number.”
Nearly half of U.S. residents are covered by comprehensive state or local indoor smoking bans, the CDC estimated, in a new report.
In addition to the 26 states with comprehensive bans, another 10 states ban indoor smoking in restaurants, bars or the workplace — just not necessarily all three. Other states have anti-smoking laws that are less restrictive, such as laws that require separate ventilation for indoor smoking areas.
Currently, only 7 states do not have any kind of smoking ban: Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming. However, several individual cities within these states have passed their own anti-smoking ordinances.
Although there isn’t much data yet on how smoking bans affect cancer rates, studies show that adult heart attacks and asthma attacks in children have declined in communities where indoor smoking is prohibited. Smoking is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Nearly 1 in 5 deaths each year in the United States is linked to tobacco.
Click here to sign a petition calling on Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming Lawmakers to support public health and pass anti-smoking legislation.
Photo credit: West McGowan