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News Summary

More patrons, employees to breath easier Jan. 1

Publication Date: 1/1/2009
  • Author:Sarah Davidson
  • Publication:The Southwest Community Connection (Portland, OR),

Will McKinney is looking forward to the new year when, beginning Jan. 1, he can go to any restaurant he chooses.

The 16-year-old has asthma, but Oregon's new Smoke-free Workplace Law means that all businesses will be free of the smoke that irritates his airways.

"If all businesses are non-smoking, then I'll be able to go to a variety of restaurants," McKinney said.

The law, which prohibits smoking inside of all business establishments and within 10 feet of any entrance, window or vent, requires businesses to erect "no smoking" signs and remove all ashtrays as well as ashtray trash receptacles.

Even though most businesses are already smoke-free under the Oregon Smoke-free Workplace Law passed in 2002, many bars, restaurants, bingo halls, bowling alleys and employee break rooms still permit smoking, said Erik Vidstrand, community health educator for the Multnomah County Health Department.

Despite the abundance of smoke-free establishments, 35,000 employees were still unprotected from secondhand smoke under the 2002 law, Vidstrand said.