Smoke-free workplace policy needed in state

Published 9:57am Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June is National Employee Wellness Month. Alabama is one of 25 states without a comprehensive smoke-free policy protecting employees from secondhand smoke exposure. In 2010, the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that even occasional exposure can lead to blood vessel damage, heart attack and stroke.

Hospitality workers are often exposed to SHS for 8 hours or more and yet only 28 percent of waiters and 13 percent of bartenders are protected by smoke-free policies. As a consequence, nonsmokers who work in restaurants are 50 percent more likely to develop lung cancer and up to 30 percent more at risk for heart disease than nonsmokers in the general public.

Tobacco-free worksites benefit both employers and employees by providing a healthier environment, reducing absenteeism, healthcare costs and cleaning for expenses for the employer. The Alabama Department of Public Health offers free help to businesses to implement their own smoke-free policy.

Currently in Alabama, 85 percent of the population is not protected from SHS in workplaces and public places. Separating smokers from nonsmoker, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposure.

Twenty-five U.S. States and the District of Columbia have passed comprehensive smoke-free workplace, restaurant and bar policies. All Alabama workers have the right to a clean, safe work environment, free from the harmful toxins in secondhand smoke. You can help protect Alabama workers by signing a petition in support of smoke-free workplaces at www.tobaccofreealabama.org.

Escambia County Children’s Policy Council

Coalition for a

Tobacco-free Alabama

Misty Kelly

CPC Coordinator, Brewton

  • bama918

    As a nonsmoker I need to say Get Off It. People go to bars to drink 90% smoke so when you apply for a job you know there is smoking in the bar.As for Resturaunts very few allow smoking now.As for as outside move away from the smokers .To many nonsmokers do nothing but whine.Shut up and let’s worry about things to help get these smokers off them.
    I smoked 20 years and sorry I did but I did .I stopped for ne not to please any nonsmoker gripping.
    I have smoking friends and everyone respect my right not to smoke in my home or car. But I do believe smokers have there rights too .As for smoking in restarsunts build a separate room , put smoking workers in it and shut up lady

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