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J Community Health. 2014 Aug;39(4):660-7. doi: 10.1007/s10900-014-9873-3.

Tobacco control policies in outdoor areas of high volume American transit systems.

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Division of Health Behavior and Health Promotion, Ohio State University College of Public Health, 1841 Neil Avenue, Columbus, OH, 43210, USA,


Very little is known about how smoking and other tobacco use is regulated in outdoor and semi-enclosed spaces across transit systems. The purpose of this study was to understand how American transit systems are regulating cigarettes and other tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes, in outdoor or quasi-outdoor spaces. Within four regions of the United States, a purposive convenience sample was taken of the top five volume American transit systems (n = 20) based on annual ridership. Each transit authority website was systematically reviewed to produce a cross-sectional study of the published policies regarding tobacco product use for indoor, outdoor, and quasi-outdoor spaces of transit property; rules regarding cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes were identified. Policies regulating tobacco use were enacted by transit systems and/or the cities and states in which transit systems are located. The majority (80%) of transit systems banned smoking in outdoor areas; few prohibited smokeless tobacco use (15%, n = 3) and some disallowed e-cigarettes (30%, n = 6). Violation consequences ranged widely from none to verbal warnings, ejection from transit property, fines, and imprisonment. Regulating smoking in outdoor or quasi-outdoor environments is common in American transit environments. These policies can help protect vulnerable populations from exposure to secondhand smoke and communicate a tobacco-free norm.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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