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Am J Prev Med. 2013 Sep;45(3):360-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.05.007.

Policies to restrict secondhand smoke exposure: American College of Preventive Medicine Position Statement.

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Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.


Secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure poses serious health risks for all nonsmokers, especially children and pregnant women. SHS is estimated to contribute to heart attacks in nonsmokers and nearly 53,800 deaths in the U.S. annually. A literature review of English-language articles was performed using PubMed, organizational websites, and pertinent review articles. Over the past 25 years, smokefree policies have protected nearly half the U.S. population from the adverse health effects of SHS. Smokefree policies have been shown to improve health outcomes with no consequences to local businesses. As of April 2013, a total of 24 states and 561 municipalities and territories, including the District of Columbia, New York City, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, have established laws that require nonhospitality workplaces, restaurants, and bars to be 100% smokefree. Four other states-Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, and Nevada-have smokefree laws that cover restaurants but provide an exemption for stand-alone bars. At least 14 states have no smokefree laws. This paper describes the benefits of policies that reduce SHS and concludes with recommendations for future directions. The American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) recommends expanded clean indoor air policies for workplaces, stand-alone bars, restaurants, and multi-use family housing such as apartment buildings. ACPM recommends clean air policies for all university campuses, secondary school campuses, primary schools, child care centers, and city landmarks to further shift social norms and protect the health of children, adolescents, and adults. ACPM recommends closing existing gaps in clean indoor air policies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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