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Posts Tagged ‘smoking ban’

Smoke-free Laws Don’t Harm Business

In National News on August 8, 2011 at 9:23 am

The June edition of the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research found that smoke-free laws did not harm business in both rural and urban areas of Kentucky and Ohio. Here is the abstract from the study:

Introduction: Numerous empirical studies have examined the influence of smoke-free legislation on economic activity, with most finding a null effect. The influence could possibly differ
in rural areas relative to urban areas due to differing rates of smoking prevalence and access to prevention and treatment programs. Furthermore, the discussion of the effectiveness of smoke-free laws has been extended to consider local ordinances relative to statewide laws. This study examines these issues using
21 local laws in Kentucky and the Ohio statewide smoke-free law.

Methods: The number of employees, total wages paid, and number of reporting establishments in all hospitality and accommodation services in Kentucky and Ohio counties were documented, beginning the first quarter 2001 and ending the last quarter of 2009. A generalized estimating equation timeseries design is used to estimate the impact of local and state smoke-free laws in Kentucky and Ohio rural and urban
counties.

Results: There is no evidence that the economies in Kentucky counties were affected in any way from the implementation of local smoke-free laws. There was also no evidence that total employment or the number of establishments was influenced by the statewide law in Ohio, but wages increased following the implementation of the law. Furthermore, there is no evidence that either rural or urban counties experienced a loss of economic activity following smoke-free legislation.

Conclusions: The study finds no evidence that local or state smoke-free legislation negatively influences local economies in either rural or urban communities.

Smoke-free Air Law Had No Economic Effect On Off-Track Betting Facility

In State News on March 23, 2011 at 7:27 am

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — An Indiana University study found that a smoke-free air law implemented in an Indiana community did not hurt business at the off-track betting facility in that community. The findings, the researchers said, suggest there is “no economic reason for policymakers to exclude OTB facilities from smoke-free legislation.”

Indiana legislators are currently debating a statewide smoke-free air law. Exceptions could include casinos and other gaming venues. Jon Macy, assistant professor in IU’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and lead author of the study, said past research has shown that smoke-free laws do not negatively affect businesses, but the findings concerning gambling facilities have been mixed.

“Prior research has very clearly demonstrated that laws prohibiting smoking in public places and workplaces have no negative economic consequences in multiple industries,” Macy said. “Our study is one of the first to find that this holds true for gaming facilities as well.”

The study, published online on Tuesday by the journal Tobacco Control, compared per capita “handle,” or the amount gamblers spent per number of people living in the county, for three Indiana OTBs from 2002 to 2009. The OTBs were located in Fort Wayne, which in 2007 implemented a smoke-free air law in all workplaces, including gambling facilities, and in Indianapolis and Merrillville, where smoking is permitted at the facilities.

The study found that the per capita handle in all three facilities declined at a similar rate during this period, with unemployment rates proving to be a significant predictor of the per capita handle. As unemployment rates increased, per capita handle decreased. There was no change in the trend in per capita handle after the Fort Wayne location went smoke-free or in the two control locations that continued to allow smoking.

“Given the well-established negative health consequences of secondhand smoke exposure, strong policies should be enacted to protect workers and patrons at gaming facilities from exposure to secondhand smoke,” the authors wrote in their study, ‘The impact of a local smoke-free law on wagering at an off-track betting facility in Indiana.’ “These strong public health policies can be implemented without fear of negative economic consequences.”

Co-author of the study was Ericka L. Hernandez, Department of Statistics in IU’s College of Arts and Sciences.
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The article is available online at http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2011/03/19/tc.2010.041913.full.

Daviess County Residents Call For Statewide Smoke-Free Air Law

In Local News on March 18, 2011 at 10:59 am

WASHINGTON, Ind. (March 16, 2011) – Daviess County residents are calling for Indiana legislators to pass a law that would make all workplaces in Indiana smoke-free, including restaurants, bars, and casinos. It makes sense medically and economically – and it’s just the right thing to do, agreed a panel of expert speakers at last night’s Smoke-Free Air Forum in the Washington High School Library.

“We cannot in all good conscious allow (secondhand smoke) to hurt our community,” said Rev. Lennie Lawrence of Christ United Methodist Church, pointing out that lower income families, African Americans, and women suffer most of the health effects of secondhand smoke exposure and smoking.

The panel discussion started with Marilyn McCullough of Thompson Insurance talking about the economic costs of secondhand smoke to businesses. Not only does going smoke-free lower health insurance costs, it increases productivity.

“If you allow your smoking employees four 10-minutes breaks every day, they actually work three weeks less per year than your nonsmoking employees,” said McCullough.

Also, businesses can save $190 per 1,000 square feet per year in maintenance costs if they are smoke-free, she said.

Many bar owners are concerned that a smoke-free law would cause them to lose business. But bars and restaurants are already under many safety and health regulations regarding sanitation and cleanliness, and smoke-free regulations fall in that same category, said McCullough.

Bars and restaurants in Hoosier cities that have enacted local smoke-free ordinances and in the 28 states with smoke-free laws have not lost business, and some have actually gained because non-smokers are the majority, she continued. Those studies that may contradict this information are closely tied to the tobacco industry and are not as trustworthy as the independent studies that show no negative economic impact from a smoke-free law, she said.

Speaking next on the panel was Jane Norton, RN, with the Daviess County Health Department. She said that secondhand smoke is actually more toxic than the smoke breathed by the smoker, and chemicals from cigarette smoke persist well beyond the time the smoker is in the room. Secondhand smoke cannot be contained in separated rooms or removed with ventilation systems, and no amount of secondhand smoke is safe, she said.

“Secondhand smoke laws need to be 100% to be effective,” she said.

Next to speak was Valerie Roark, a respiratory therapist who manages the cardiopulmonary, neurodiagnostics, and sleep diagnostics department at Daviess Community Hospital. She said that secondhand smoke causes many diseases in nonsmokers, including heart disease, lung disease, and cancer. A smoke-free law that covers all workplaces drastically reduces heart attacks, she said.

“That’s huge! Smoking bans can have a substantial impact on public health,” she said, “and it’s measured in human lives.”

Rev. Lawrence finished the panel discussion by talking about his own experience with secondhand smoke. Both of his parents died from smoking, and he quit smoking when his children were young. But because of exposure to secondhand smoke during childhood and his own smoking, Lawrence now suffers from multiple health problems including COPD and asthma.

Lawrence also talked about ministering to and consoling families who have lost children, parents, and siblings too early because of the devastating effects of secondhand smoke and smoking.

“Smoking is more than statistics, more than laws; it’s about lives turned inside out,” said Lawrence. “The question was asked, should the business owner be able to make the decision (whether to allow smoking). Let them talk to someone who has felt the effects. It destroys the bottom line of families.”

Lawrence encouraged the audience to tell restaurant owners when they decide to leave an establishment because of the secondhand smoke and to talk to friends and family members about the effects of secondhand smoke.

The evening concluded with presentations of awards to Washington Community Schools and Four Seasons Entertainment Hall.

Sally Petty, coordinator of the Daviess County Tobacco Prevention Coalition, presented the Gary Sandifur Award to Superintendent Bruce Hatton and Assistant Superintendent Becky Dayton in honor of the school’s new policy which prohibits tobacco use by all students, staff, and visitors at all times on all school property. Petty said the policy protects students and school employees from secondhand smoke and helps reduce youth smoking rates by setting a positive example.

Petty also presented the Smoke-Free Business Award to Four Seasons Entertainment Hall in honor of their smoke-free policy. Petty said their policy does a good job of protecting their employees and patrons from secondhand smoke. Dave Crooks of DLC Media accepted the award on behalf of business owner Jason Chapman, who could not be present due to a family emergency. Crooks remarked that Four Seasons’ smoke-free policy did not hinder a crowd of 1,000 people from enjoying a live concert there recently.

Indiana Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Celebrates Milestones

In Local News, State News on February 23, 2011 at 3:27 pm

This op-ed by Sandy Gleim was published in the Herald Argus:

After 10 years working on the local and state levels, Indiana Tobacco Prevention & Cessation is celebrating impressive milestones that positively impact Hoosier health.

  • Smoking rates for high school youth have dropped by 42 percent, resulting in 49,000 fewer youth smokers.
  • Adult smoking decreased from 27 to 23 percent. This historic low rate means there are 207,000 fewer smokers in Indiana.
  • Per capita cigarette consumption has declined by 40 percent.
  • More than 2,000 community organizations statewide – including in LaPorte County – are working to help reduce tobacco use.
  • Many more Hoosiers are protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke, within 30 smoke-free communities.
  • The Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUITNOW has served more than 60,000 residents since it was launched in 2006.
  • 70 percent of Indiana’s schools have a tobacco-free campus, an increase from 28 percent.

That is much good work to applaud! But the flip side is there are still more than one million smokers in our state, translating to 9,700 deaths each year. An additional 194,000 Hoosiers live with serious tobacco-related illness. The tobacco use burden to the Indiana economy is estimated at $7.7 billion annually, and the state spends a whopping $487 million each year on Medicaid payments caused by tobacco use. The bottom line is that many Hoosiers continue to smoke, ultimately costing the state and taxpayers in increased health care costs.

Balancing all these facts, it’s apparent while much has been achieved in Indiana, we still have major work ahead to improve our health status.

Enacting smoke-free policy is not only an effective measure in leading persons to give up smoking, but public health advocates support 100% comprehensive legislation to protect the rights of all workers to breathe healthy air. Once again, our legislature is considering a statewide smoke-free policy. The House bill contains numerous exemptions to public places, including bars. Now the Senate has the chance to debate the issue and hopefully to strengthen the stance.

As these discussions progress, from an economic as well as a health angle, it benefits Indiana to support comprehensive smoke-free policy and the continued prevention and cessation work of the state tobacco agency.

U.S. Military Takes Tough Line Against Tobacco

In National News on January 31, 2011 at 9:53 am

Check out this article written that was published by The Sacramento Bee. 

Three improvised bombs exploded last Easter outside a Baghdad government building, and Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm Russell, an Elk Grove Army reservist deployed in Iraq, was on high alert, his adrenaline pumping.

When calm finally arrived, Russell reached for a pack of smokes, lit up and inhaled. “I’ll never forget that drag, with the hair-raising moments we had. It brought down the stress,” he said.

Russell, 34, has lived the horrors of war, but it is his addiction to cigarettes, he said, that has been the toughest battle of all.

When it comes to quitting, “I’m trying to win the war. Sometimes it feels like I’m losing the battle,” said Russell, who is back home and, two weeks ago, began a smoking cessation class at Mercy General Hospital, where he oversees security.

The U.S. military vowed to join the national fight against smoking, saying it is stepping up its efforts to help military personnel kick their tobacco habits.

Earlier this month, the Navy banned smoking inside submarines. It was the latest sign of a cultural sea change within the U.S. armed services after years of condoning the cigarette addictions of generations of enlisted men and women.

Until the Vietnam War, cigarettes were part of military meal rations: a few smokes served with green tins containing breakfast, lunch or dinner.

These days, the anti-smoking message is plastered across bases and websites that urge the country’s 2.2 million warriors to battle their cravings for tobacco, even offering online poker and video games to help soldiers ward off cravings for cigarettes.

Last June, the government’s health plan for military families, TRICARE, launched a telephone help line to dispense anti-smoking advice and counseling.

Under pressure from public health officials and anti-tobacco forces, who say smoking drains military budgets and undermines combat readiness, the Department of Defense has vowed it will eventually go tobacco-free. But the Pentagon has yet to say when.

“There’s been a long history of the tobacco industry integrating itself in the culture of the military,” said Dr. Darryl Hunter, a radiation oncologist who treated military personnel, many of them smokers, for nine years at Travis Air Force Base before going to work for Kaiser Permanente in Roseville.

“Tobacco is the single largest cause of loss of life and health-related expenditures,” said Hunter, who is also an Air Force reservist.

In 2006, military hospitals provided $564 million in services for tobacco-related conditions. The Department of Veterans Affairs spent more than $5 billion in 2008 to treat pulmonary disease, much of it traced to smoking.

While the smoking rate among military personnel has plunged over the years, from 51 percent in 1980 to 30 percent today, it remains at least 10 percent higher than that of civilians.

The proportion of smokers is even higher among military personnel deployed overseas, particularly to such volatile regions as Iraq and Afghanistan, where cigarettes help relieve the stresses of combat and the tedium of duty.

In 2007, the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs asked the national Institute of Medicine to suggest ways to reduce tobacco use among the enlisted and veterans.

The result was a 2009 report that urged the U.S. military to take the war on tobacco more seriously and produce a comprehensive strategy to curb the use of cigarettes, chew and other tobacco products.

The Navy responded in April by announcing a ban on smoking in submarines.

“Despite our atmosphere purification technology, there are unacceptable levels of secondhand smoke in the atmosphere of a submerged submarine,” Vice Admiral John Donnelly said last year.

Dr. Michael Fiore, a former major in the U.S. Army and director of the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention at the University of Wisconsin, acknowledged the military’s progress but said it needs to do more.

“Veterans who smoke survive the battlefield,” he said, “only to come back home and die from disease, such as lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes, emphysema – the list goes on.”

Exemptions Make Proposed Smoking Ban Useless

In Local News, State News on January 28, 2011 at 8:47 am

The Washington Times-Herald published an article Jan. 25 titled “House exempts bars from proposed smoking ban.” Our state legislators have so watered down the proposed law with exemptions that it’s practically useless at this point.

Indiana needs a smoke-free workplace law that covers all workers, including those in the hospitality industry, because all workers deserve a safe and healthy work place, no matter where they work.

Many employees in the restaurant, bar, and casino industry have limited employment options, especially in this economic environment. They should not have to choose between their health and earning a living for their families. Secondhand smoke kills thousands of nonsmokers every year, especially people working in restaurants, bars, and casinos.

Numerous polls show a majority of Hoosiers support a smoke-free law that covers all workplaces. Bars and casinos in other states with smoking bans have not been financially harmed because of the law. Instead, those states are seeing drops in heart attacks and other diseases related to secondhand smoke exposure.

It all boils down to this – secondhand smoke is a worker safety issue, the same as any other workplace safety hazard. I like how Dave Crooks put it in his recent blog: “It’s time to ban smoking in ALL public places in Indiana. We have nothing to fear but cleaner air and a more attractive state for all.”

I urge you to contact your legislators today and ask them to support a smoke-free law for everyone.

Indiana’s Faith Leaders Call For Legislature To Approve Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Funding, Statewide Comprehensive Smoke-Free Workplace Law

In State News on January 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm
Yesterday in Indianapolis, leaders of Indiana’s major faiths and denominations called upon the members of the Indiana General Assembly to commit to reducing the serious burden tobacco smoke takes on both the primary user and also those who are exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke. Leaders from a diverse array of faith denominations issued this call to action at Christ Church Cathedral on Monument Circle in Indianapolis at an event hosted by the Hoosier Faith and Health Coalition.
Reverend Dan Gangler of the United Methodist Church said, “The clear and present danger caused to Hoosiers by tobacco products, plus the costs to the state incurred because of disease and death caused by tobacco products and secondhand smoke demand that our state’s policymakers show true commitment to addressing the toll of tobacco by providing meaningful funding to Indiana Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Agency and by adopting a comprehensive smokefree workplace law.
“Hoosier Faith & Health Coalition members are proud to partner with ITPC in its community- based campaign to reduce tobacco use. Our faith leaders and health leaders in communities across Indiana have a great resource in ITPC’s state office staff and the community partners across the state. Hoosiers need the experienced, dedicated staff of ITPC and the independent, expert guidance provided by ITPC’s Executive Board in order to continue the decade of progress Indiana has witnessed in reducing youth and adult smoking rates and consumption,” Gangler said.
Research shows that reducing tobacco use is one of the most effective ways to protect our state’s health and prevent deadly and costly diseases such as cancer and heart attacks by preventing kids from starting and helping adults quit.
The Hoosier Faith and Health Coalition event celebrated 10 years of service to Hoosiers by the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency. During this last decade of service, ITPC has led Hoosiers to major successes in tobacco prevention, such as:
  • Successfully reducing adult smoking to an historic low of 23.1%. Consequently today there are 208,000 fewer smokers in Indiana than there were just 10 years ago;
  • Reducing annual per capita cigarette consumption of Hoosiers by 40%; and 
  • Reducing the high school smoking rate by 42%, resulting in 49,000 fewer youth smokers.
In spite of this success, there still is a tremendous amount yet to do to help Hoosiers quit smoking, prevent young people from starting to smoke, eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke and reducing disparities caused by tobacco. At the same time while ITPC has been efficiently and effectively doing its work to combat the significant health and financial toll caused by tobacco and providing Hoosiers with a positive return on their investment by reducing tobacco-related costs for the state, businesses and individuals, the tobacco industry continues to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more than Indiana dedicates to tobacco control efforts. For example, tobacco companies spent $426 million to market their products in Indiana in 2006 alone, according to the most recent Federal Trade Commission report that tracks these expenditures, outspending tobacco prevention funding by a scale of 46 to one.
Kevin O’Flaherty of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said, “We ask the Indiana General Assembly stand up for healthy Hoosiers and against disease, death and $2 billion per year in costs due to smoking and $390 million per year in costs due to secondhand smoke. Investing in ITPC is a smart investment, especially in such hard economic times, because it’s an expenditure that is shown to provide a positive return on investment. We ask Indiana’s leaders to not turn back the clock on our decade of progress but to commit to continue these important programs and the valuable work of ITPC.”

How Long Will We Hold Out?

In State News on January 19, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Opinion piece by Richard Feldman that was published recently in the Indianapolis Star.

The Indiana General Assembly again is considering a comprehensive smoke-free statute that would prohibit smoking in enclosed public places including worksites, restaurants and bars. The legislature has previously lacked the courage to overcome the powerful political influence of the tobacco industry. Hoosiers also fervently value personal liberties and resent intrusive governmental control of business. These attitudes, although understandable, are applied excessively regarding this issue.

Individual freedoms are not absolute; they are balanced by the greater public good, and they end when one’s actions injure another. Smokers do hurt those around them. Nonsmokers cannot always deliberately avoid environmental tobacco smoke. It is ubiquitous. Although the enactment of smoke-free laws has reduced the risk, studies demonstrate that Americans greatly underestimate their exposure to secondhand smoke. Commonly, people who believe that they are not exposed to smoking have significant blood levels of tobacco-smoke metabolites.

Also, workers may be trapped in smoke-filled environments. Jobs are not easily found and many workers have no alternatives. For example, I had a patient with severe asthma. She was a cocktail waitress in a smoky work environment that triggered her asthma. I advised her that she should find another job. Surprised, she looked at me and said, “Dr. Feldman, working in bars is what I do. It’s all I know. If I found another job, it would be in another smoky bar.”

Consider these additional facts as ample rationale for a smoke-free statute:

No legitimate study has ever found a negative economic effect of a smoke-free law on restaurants, bars, convention business or the hospitality industry. These include studies conducted in Bloomington and Fort Wayne. My goodness, the pubs in Ireland went smoke-free and they’re doing fine.

Environmental tobacco smoke annually kills 1,300 people in Indiana, 53,000 in the United States (including 6,200 children), and 600,000 worldwide. It is America’s third leading cause of premature death.

Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer and at least 15 other cancers in nonsmokers chronically exposed. Tobacco smoke is America’s number one airborne carcinogen.

Secondhand smoke significantly increases the risk of chronic obstructive lung disease and asthma in nonsmokers and various respiratory infections, including pneumonia, in children.

Environmental tobacco smoke increases the risk of heart disease in nonsmokers by up to 60 percent and stroke by 50 to 80 percent.

Before the era of smoke-free laws, restaurant and bar workers had up to four times the risk of lung cancer and more than twice the risk of heart disease as compared to other workers.

Numerous studies have demonstrated hospital admissions for acute heart attack have been reduced between 14 and 42 percent in the months after smoke-free laws take effect; in one study, hospital admissions for childhood asthma were reduced by 16 percent.

Pregnant women exposed to secondhand smoke have twice the risk of having a low-birth weight baby, which is associated with 40 percent of neonatal deaths. These women also have higher rates of miscarriage, premature birth and other obstetrical complications.

Secondhand smoke considerably increases direct and indirect costs to businesses and is responsible for $390 million in health-related costs yearly in Indiana.

Nearly two-thirds of likely Hoosier voters support comprehensive smoke-free laws that include restaurants and bars. That would be a landslide victory in any election.

As the Indiana legislature debated this issue last year, South Dakota became the 29th state to enact a comprehensive smoke-free statute. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Illinois all have good smoke-free laws.

Although there may be more momentum this year, its enactment remains an uphill battle. Will Indiana or Kentucky be the last state in the country to enact a comprehensive smoke-free statute? Tough call.

Feldman, M.D., is director of medical education and family medicine residency at St. Francis Hospitals and Health Centers and is a former state health commissioner. Contact him at richard.feldman@ssfhs.org.

Indiana Needs A Comprehensive Smoke-Free Workplace Law

In State News on January 17, 2011 at 10:29 am

On Wednesday, the House Public Health Committee held a hearing on HB 1018, the Indiana Comrehensive Indoor Clean Air Act, which would require all Indiana workplaces, including restaurants and bars, to go smoke-free.

The bill, however, contains exemptions for casinos. Radio show host Dave Crooks wrote a great blog about the issue here: http://wamwamfm.com/dcs/.

We feel all workers deserve to breathe clean air. No one should have to choose between their health and a paycheck. You can support smoke-free workplace by contacting your representative and patronizing only smoke-free businesses.

Gambling? Maybe. Smoking? No.

In National News on June 28, 2010 at 10:02 am

Check out this article by Michael Levenson that was published in the Boston Globe. I love the quote towards the end that it’s hypocritical to create jobs that will result in those workers getting sick or dying from their work environment.

The Massachusetts Senate voted 24-15 today in favor of an amendment to expanded gambling legislation that would ban smoking in casinos. The vote was a rare rebuke for Senate leaders who wanted to allow smoking in
one-fourth of the floor space at the casinos.

As the Senate took up a host of amendments on the second day of debate on the bill, leaders warned that the state will lose as much as $94 million in gambling revenue if it does not allow smoking in its casinos. They pointed out that Connecticut’s casinos allow smoking.

“Only in Massachusetts would we have a casino bill and try to build a politically correct casino,” said Richard R. Tisei, the Senate Republican leader and candidate for lieutenant governor, urging his colleagues to reject the amendment. “Have any of you people ever been to a casino and understand what it takes for a casino to be successful and
to draw people in?”

But supporters of the amendment said second-hand smoke will put casino workers’ lives at risk. They pointed out that Massachusetts banned smoking in most workplaces six years ago and that a Harvard School of Public Health study has shown the ban saves 600 lives a year.

“I thought we were trying to create jobs here,” said Susan C. Fargo, a Lincoln Democrat who urged her colleagues to approve the amendment. “Why create jobs for people who will sicken and die? This is the most hypocritical thing I’ve seen in my 14 years in the Senate.”

The bill being considered by the Senate would license three casinos in the state.

If the Senate approves a plan to expand gambling, it will have to be reconciled with a bill passed by the House in April, which calls for two casinos and slot machines at the state’s racetracks.