Smoke-free Workplace Rules and Laws

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In 2014 to 2015, 80.2% of adults aged 18 years and older reported a smoke-free work environment.

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Introduction

Conclusive scientific evidence documents that secondhand smoke (SHS) causes premature death and disease in children and adults who do not smoke. Exposure to SHS by adults has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, and long-term exposure to SHS causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer. Children exposed to SHS are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, more severe asthma, respiratory symptoms, and slowed lung growth.

Today, comprehensive smoke-free laws, covering public places and workplaces, including restaurants and bars are increasingly the norm.  Additionally, smoke-free polices now extend to private spaces, including cars and multi-unit housing.

Numerous states, cities, and jurisdictions have implemented comprehensive smoke-free policies to protect employees and the public from the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke. The non-profit organization, Americans for Non-Smokers’ Rights, tracks the status of smoke-free policies at both the state and local level. As of October 2, 2017, 25 states and over 900 municipalities have adopted comprehensive smoke-free policies for workplaces, restaurants, and bars.

Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), including e-cigarettes, are battery-powered devices designed to heat a liquid, typically containing nicotine, to produce an aerosol for inhalation by the user.  Secondhand aerosol contains nicotine, fine and ultrafine particles, metals, and other toxicants.  At least 430 cities and several states prohibit the use of ENDS products in places that prohibit smoking of cigarettes and other tobacco products. 

Measure

The percentage of indoor workers reporting a smoke-free work environment.

The percentage of the population protected by local and state smoke-free indoor air laws covering workplaces, restaurants, and bars. This measure draws on data collected and analyzed by the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. Use of this information allows the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to include both local and state laws in its assessments.

Healthy People 2020 Target

  • Increase the proportion of persons covered by indoor worksite policies that prohibit smoking to 100 percent.
  • Increase the number of jurisdictions (states and Washington, D.C.) with smoke-free indoor air laws that prohibit smoking in public places and worksites to 51.

Healthy People 2020 is a set of goals set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Note: Goals are indicated as blue line on Detailed Trend Graphs.

Data Source

National Cancer Institute.  Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Supplement for “work place smoke-free policies” measures.

Americans for Nonsmokers Right Foundation. “Percentage of the population covered by local and/or state 100% smoke-free air laws”.

Trends and Most Recent EstimatesHelp with navigating the graphs and data tables

Smoke-free Workplace Rules

By Sex
Percentage of workers aged 18 years and older reporting a smoke-free work environment by sex, 1992-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2014 to 2015)
Percent of workers 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of workers aged 18 years and older reporting a smoke-free work environment by sex, 1992-2015 click for more details and datapoints Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 80.2 (79.7 - 80.6)
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 77.6 (76.9 - 78.2)
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 82.5 (82.0 - 83.0)
By Race/Ethnicity
Percentage of workers aged 18 years and older reporting a smoke-free work environment by race/ethnicity, 1992-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2014 to 2015)
Percent of workers 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of workers aged 18 years and older reporting a smoke-free work environment by race/ethnicity, 1992-2015 click for more details and datapoints All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 80.2 (79.7 - 80.6)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 81.8 (81.3 - 82.3)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 78.5 (77.0 - 79.9)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 74.1 (72.4 - 75.7)
By Age
Percentage of workers aged 18 years and older reporting a smoke-free work environment by age, 1992-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2014 to 2015)
Percent of workers 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of workers aged 18 years and older reporting a smoke-free work environment by age, 1992-2015 click for more details and datapoints Ages 18-24Click to see the detailed trend graph for Ages 18-24 75.1 (73.5 - 76.7)
Ages 25+Click to see the detailed trend graph for Ages 25+ 80.9 (80.4 - 81.3)
By Sex and Age
Percentage of workers aged 18 years and older reporting a smoke-free work environment by sex and age, 1992-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2014 to 2015)
Percent of workers 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of workers aged 18 years and older reporting a smoke-free work environment by sex and age, 1992-2015 click for more details and datapoints Males, ages 18-24Click to see the detailed trend graph for Males, ages 18-24 72.0 (69.7 - 74.2)
Males, ages 25+Click to see the detailed trend graph for Males, ages 25+ 78.3 (77.7 - 79.0)
Females, ages 18-24Click to see the detailed trend graph for Females, ages 18-24 77.8 (75.7 - 79.8)
Females, ages 25+Click to see the detailed trend graph for Females, ages 25+ 83.2 (82.7 - 83.7)
By Poverty Income Level
Percentage of workers aged 18 years and older reporting a smoke-free work environment by poverty income level, 1998-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2014 to 2015)
Percent of workers 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of workers aged 18 years and older reporting a smoke-free work environment by poverty income level, 1998-2015 click for more details and datapoints < 200% of the federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for < 200% of the federal poverty level 74.8 (73.7 - 75.9)
>= 200% of the federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for >= 200% of the federal poverty level 81.7 (81.2 - 82.3)
By Education Level
Percentage of workers aged 25 years and older reporting a smoke-free work environment by highest level of education obtained, 1992-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2014 to 2015)
Percent of workers 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of workers aged 25 years and older reporting a smoke-free work environment by highest level of education obtained, 1992-2015 click for more details and datapoints Less than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Less than High School 69.1 (66.9 - 71.3)
High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for High School 76.4 (75.3 - 77.3)
Greater than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Greater than High School 83.0 (82.5 - 83.5)

Indoor Air Laws

Percentage of population protected by local and state 100% smoke-free indoor air laws, 1990-2016
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2016)
Percent of population 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of population protected by local and state 100% smoke-free indoor air laws, 1990-2016 click for more details and datapoints WorkplacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Workplaces 73.4 Not available
RestaurantsClick to see the detailed trend graph for Restaurants 77.2 Not available
BarsClick to see the detailed trend graph for Bars 65.2 Not available

Evidence-based Resources

State-level data are available on the risk of smoking and the implication of smoke-free laws in bars, restaurant and the workplace.  These data are available on State Cancer Profiles.  These data can be used to prioritize cancer control efforts and develop action plans.

Additional Information on Smoke-free Workplace Rules and Laws

For the public

Scientific reports

Statistics

Year Range

1992-2015

Recent Summary Trend Year Range

2010-2015

Summary Tables

Secondhand Smoke

Recent Summary Trend

Non-Significant Change

Desired Direction

Rising