Secondhand smoke exposure remains a major public health concern that is entirely preventable. Secondhand smoke is a recognized human carcinogen containing at least 250 chemicals that are known to be toxic or carcinogenic, and is responsible for an estimated 3,000 lung cancer deaths annually in the U.S. among people who have never smoked as well as more than 25,000 deaths annually from coronary heart disease in never smokers, plus respiratory infections, asthma, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other illnesses in children. Dangers of secondhand smoke exposure are highest among restaurant and bar workers whose workplaces typically are not regulated for air quality and who have some of the highest lung cancer rates of any occupation.
Here in Ontario, Canada a law comes into effect at the end of May, 2006 that bans smoking in all enclosed workplaces and public spaces, including bars, restaurants, bingo halls and private clubs such as legion halls. A similar ban has been in effect since 2000 in the Waterloo Region of Ontario where I live and it's wonderful not to be concerned about breathing smoke when going out.
For immediate release: Thursday, March 16, 2006
Boston, MA - A survey of air pollution levels in "Irish pubs" around the world has found that indoor air pollution in authentic Irish pubs in Ireland, where a smoke-free law has been in effect for two years, is 91 percent lower than in "Irish pubs" located in other countries and cities where smoke-free laws do not apply. Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Roswell Park Cancer Institute and health authorities in Ireland collaborated on the project that assessed air samples from 128 "Irish pubs" in 15 countries in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.
In March 2004, the Republic of Ireland became the first country to have a nationwide ban on indoor smoking in all public spaces -- including restaurants and pubs. The policy provides an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of comprehensive smoke-free laws by comparing Irish indoor public spaces to public spaces elsewhere. Despite claims that the law could have a negative economic impact, Ireland has seen no decline in business at pubs and restaurants and, in fact, business in that sector has improved according to the Central Statistics Office (Ireland) (www.cso.ie)...Full news release