Smokefree Air Challenge

States that ban smoking in public places

We're halfway there, say those who advocate state bans on smoking in public spaces.

According to a report out this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 states have passed laws banning smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars during the past 10 years. If the trend continues, the entire nation could have similar bans by 2020, the report stated.

Another 10 states, including Florida, prohibit smoking in one or two of those areas, but not all three. Florida law still permits smoking in bars. "That leaves many bar workers and patrons exposed to the dangers of secondhand smoke, " a CDC spokesman said.

"Eliminating smoking from work sites, restaurants and bars is a low-cost, high-impact strategy that will protect nonsmokers and allow them to live healthier, longer, more productive lives while lowering health-care costs associated with secondhand smoke, " said Dr. Thomas Friedman, the CDC's director.

Secondhand smoke causes an estimated 46, 000 heart-disease deaths and 3, 400 lung-cancer deaths among U.S. nonsmoking adults each year according to the CDC. Tobacco use costs the U.S. economy more than $193 billion annually in health-care costs and lost productivity. Each year, smoking kills about 28, 600 Floridians, and tobacco-related diseases cost the state about $6 billion.

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