Let's clear the air
Publication Date: 2010-09-11
- Publication:Philadelphia Inquirer
For nonsmokers living in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and other states with indoor smoking bans, these should be the best of times: The ashtrays have been removed from workplaces, and customers no longer have to gag on cigarette smoke at their favorite restaurant, bar, or nightspot...
It's probably unimaginable that any states would repeal smoke-free laws, even if more people took up the deadly habit. But casinos in Pennsylvania and Atlantic City already secured exemptions, making them no-go zones for anyone aware of the dire health risks.
Besides, the status quo on smoking is unacceptable. With smoking rates around the national average - higher than many states - Pennsylvania pays a steep price in lost worker productivity and increased health-care costs. Even with New Jersey's under 16 percent of adults smoking, the personal and economic toll is troubling.
So the CDC has the right idea: Government public-health policymakers must counter tobacco companies' relentless push for new customers by expanding smoke-free laws to 22 states without such protections, raising cigarette taxes, and deploying aggressive ad campaigns and smoking-cessation programs.