It's only taken half a century or so, but the American public has finally realized and come to accept that inhaling additive-laden smoke—first or second-hand (or third-hand, even)—isn't the healthiest thing in the world. So over the past 10 years, 25 states and Washington, D.C. have implemented smoking bans in private sector worksites, restaurants, and bars. If the bans continue at their current rate, that number could balloon to include every state in the union by 2020, according to some simple math (25 states in 10 years equals 50 states in 20 years) from the Center for Disease Control.
Currently, there are only seven states with no smoking restrictions: Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Some of these—like tobacco-loving West Virginia—may never budge on smoking laws, but the tobacco industry should still be shaking in its cowboy boots. That's because, unsurprisingly, bans have a big influence on smoking rates.
In one CDC study, employees who worked in smoke-free workplaces were almost twice as likely to stop smoking as those who worked in places that allowed free-for-all smoking. And in New York City, smoking rates among adults dropped from 21.6% to 19.2% (approximately 140,000 fewer smokers) after the implementation of an all-encompassing smoking ban.
This is all well and good, but 88 million nonsmokers aged 3 and up are still exposed to deadly secondhand smoke each year. Remember:This is with bans in 25 states. Until the CDC figures out how to eliminate rebellious 13 year-olds and stressed-out office workers, people will continue to smoke and die from heart disease and lung cancer. Still, the tobacco industry may want to start thinking more seriously about manufacturing other kinds of cigarettes.
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