CDC: Half of States Have Smoke-Free Policies

But regional disparities persist; no state in the South has adopted a comprehensive policy

THURSDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Comprehensive smoke-free policies among U.S. states increased dramatically between 2000 and 2010, making the Healthy People 2020 target of all states having comprehensive smoke-free policies achievable with continued efforts and accelerated efforts in the Southern states, according a report in the April 22 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC reviewed state laws restricting smoking in effect as of Dec. 31, 2010, to assess changes in state smoking restrictions for private-sector worksites, restaurants, and bars that occurred from Dec. 31, 2000, to Dec. 31, 2010. They also determined the progress toward meeting the Healthy People 2020 objective that calls for enacting laws eliminating smoking in public places and worksites in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.).

The report revealed that the number of states, including D.C., with laws that prohibit smoking in indoor areas of worksites, restaurants, and bars increased from zero to 26 between 2000 and 2010, with nearly one-half of U.S. residents now being covered by comprehensive state or local smoke-free laws. However, regional differences continue; currently no Southern states have adopted a comprehensive smoke-free policy in all three of the venue types.

"The Healthy People 2020 target on this topic is achievable if current activity in smoke-free policy adoption is sustained nationally and intensified in certain regions, particularly the South," the authors write.

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