Smoking Bans

Half of US states currently have anti-smoking laws; the goal is 100%

On my way to work each day, I pass several billboards that have photos of bar or casino workers and the caption, “we deserve a smoke-free workplace too.” We have a quirky law in our state that forbids smoking in restaurants but allows smoking in bars and casinos. Federal regulation of smoking in public is lacking and state laws vary.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the number of states with comprehensive indoor smoking bans rose from 0 in the year 2000 to 25 in 2010. Almost half of the people in the US are covered by comprehensive state or local indoor smoking bans, and another 10 states have laws that ban smoking in workplaces, bars or restaurants, but not in all three venues. Some states have less restrictive laws (e.g. requiring smoking areas with separate ventilation). Only seven states have no indoor smoking restrictions, although some of their cities in these states do: Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming.

By 2020, the CDC estimates that every state may have bans on smoking in restaurants, bars and the workplace, based on the current pace of adopting anti-smoking laws. This is good news for oncology healthcare providers like me, and I would expect that this is good news for anyone working in cardiology, pulmonology, public health, etc. Hopefully, we’ll one day have a federal smoking ban in place for restaurants, bars, casinos, and the workplace.