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American Lung Association: PA Can Do Better, 10 Years After Smoking Ban

Carolyn Kaster
An employee takes a drag on a cigarette at Morgan's Place bar and restaurant in Harrisburg, Pa, Tuesday, June 3, 2008.

Smokey restaurants in Pennsylvania are a thing of the past thanks to the Clean Indoor Air Act. The law, which passed 10 years ago, outlaws smoking in most public spaces and workplaces.

Indoor air pollution levels in newly smoke-free hospitality venues, such as restaurants, declined by nearly 90 percent following the law’s passage, according to a study by the Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco. The American Lung Association said despite the progress, more work should be done to improve air quality. Over 2,300 venues in the state remain exempt from the Clean Indoor Air Act, leaving many hospitality workers exposed to harmful carcinogens.

Credit : These data were provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The Department specifically disclaims responsibility for any analyses, interpretations or conclusions.
Percent of adults in Allegheny County who are "current smokers," as defined as individuals who smoke every day or some days.

Jennifer Folkenroth, the ALA’s National Senior Director of Tobacco Control, said closing these regulatory loopholes is crucial to making sure that workers "never have to choose between their job and their health."

Smoking, including secondhand smoke, contributes to diseases like lung cancer and heart attacks. Because of this, Folkenroth says that a complete ban on smoking in the workplace could save roughly 52 lives of Pennsylvania hospitality workers annually.