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Wyoming, Texas Rated Worst for Smoke-Free Workplaces

02/06/2017
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Wyoming and Texas are the lawfully worst states for smoke-free workplaces, says the American Lung Association’s (ALA) 15th annual State of Tobacco Control report for 2017. The states received ALA’s lowest possible score—a zerofor smoke-free public and private work sites. Illinois, Maine, North Dakota, Oregon and Washington all received the highest possible grades in both categories.

States were graded in five areas: tobacco prevention and cessation funding, smoke-free air laws, state tobacco excise taxes, access to tobacco cessation treatments and services, and Tobacco 21.

Washington, DC and 28 states have laws that prohibit smoking in almost all public places and workplaces. E-cigarettes are prohibited in public places and workplaces in nine states and the District of Columbia. 

The "Smokefree Air Law" section, which covers private and public workplaces, was graded in nine categories, which were awarded 0 to 4 points based on the following criteria:

Government Workplaces (4 points): Target is “state and local government workplaces are 100 percent smokefree, no exemptions.” Score is lowered if restriction depends on type of ventilation, location of smoking area and/or number of employees. A bonus point (+1) is available if the laws meet the target criteria and require the grounds or a specified distance from entries or exits to be smokefree.

Private Workplaces (4 points): Target is “private workplaces are 100 percent smokefree, no exemptions.” Score is lowered if restriction depends on type of ventilation, location of smoking area and/or number of employees. A bonus point (+1) is available if the laws meet the target criteria and require the grounds or a specified distance from entries or exits to be smokefree.

Schools (4 points): Target is “no smoking permitted in public and non-public schools during school hours or while school activities are being conducted.” Score is lowered if restriction depends on type of school, school hours, type of ventilation and/or location of smoking area. A bonus point (+1) is available if the laws meet the target criteria and extend the law/policy to any time in school facilities, on school grounds, and at school-sponsored activities. 4. Child Care Facilities (4 points): Target is “no smoking permitted during operating hours in childcare facilities (explicitly including licensed, homebased facilities).” Score is lowered if restrictions depend on ventilation standards, location of smoking areas and/or exemptions for certain types of facilities.

Restaurants (4 points): Target is “restaurants (explicitly including bar areas of restaurants) are 100 percent smokefree.” Score is lowered if restriction depends on type of ventilation, location of smoking areas and/ or exemptions for some restaurants. A bonus point (+1) is available if the laws meet the target criteria and extend the law/policy to outdoor seating areas of restaurants.

Bars/Taverns (4 points): Target is “bars/taverns and similar types of establishments are 100 percent smokefree.” Score is lowered if restriction depends on ventilation standards, location of smoking area and/or if laws only applied to some but not all bars/taverns. A bonus point (+1) is available if the laws meet the target criteria and extend the law/policy to private clubs or similar establishments at all times.

Casinos/Gaming Establishments (4 points): Target is “casinos/gaming establishments are 100 percent smokefree.” Score is lowered if restriction depends on ventilation standards, location of smoking area and/or if laws only apply to some but not all casinos/gaming establishments. This category does not apply to states that do not have casinos/gaming establishments or only casinos/gaming establishments on Native American lands. 8. Retail Stores (4 points): Target is “retail stores or retail businesses open to the public are 100 percent smokefree.” Score is lowered if restriction depends on ventilation standards and/or location of smoking area, and if laws only apply to some but not all retail stores or businesses.

Recreational/Cultural Facilities (4 points): Target is “recreational and cultural facilities are 100 percent smokefree.” Score is lowered if restriction depends on ventilation standards, location of smoking area and/or if laws only apply to some but not all recreational/cultural facilities.

Penalties (4 points): Target is “graduated penalties or fines, applicable to smokers and to proprietors or employers, for any violation of clean indoor air legislation.” Score is lowered if penalties included possibilities for delay, exceptions for either smokers or proprietors/employers, or penalties that only apply to some but not all offenses. An intent requirement or affirmative defense against violation reduces the score by one (1) point.

Enforcement (4 points): Target is “designate an enforcement authority for clean indoor air, require sign posting and have a phone number and/ or online location to report violations.” Score is lowered if there is no requirement for sign posting, there is no phone number or online location to report violations, enforcement authority only applies to some sites, or an enforcement authority or sign requirement exists, but not both. A bonus point (+1) is available if the laws meet the target criteria and require the enforcement authority to conduct compliance inspections.

 

ALA rated Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia as having the worst overall tobacco control laws in the country. This year, the report added state efforts to raise the tobacco sales age to 21, known as “Tobacco 21,” to the report. The FDA did not award any states with an “A."

 

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