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Smoke-free policies reduce smoking. Yes, you read that correctly. 


While it may seem somewhat counterintuitive that smoke-free policies reduce smoking, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that smoke free policies decrease smoking rates. Think about it - if you limit the places that someone can smoke, then they are less likely to light up a cigarette and inhale those toxins.  In my humble opinion, it makes sense. As community members of Indiana, it is imperative to advocate for smoke-free policies. 


Due to the pandemic and its effect on the respiratory system, smoke-free initiatives are more critical than ever. Smoke-free policies protect individuals from secondhand smoke exposure, which can also cause various diseases. 


“There is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke, and even brief exposure can cause immediate harm. Smoke-free laws that prohibit smoking in all indoor areas of a venue fully protect nonsmokers from involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke indoors,” the CDC states. 


By implementing these smoke-free laws, the effects of secondhand smoke are reduced. 


“National and international studies have found substantial declines in cotinine, a marker of secondhand smoke, among both hospitality workers and the general public following the implementation of smoke-free laws,” the CDC says. 


Advocating for smoke-free policies is essential to improving the overall health of Hoosiers including a plethora of other benefits. Smoke-free policies are beneficial for public health, workers, especially those in the service industry, and businesses. The briefest exposure to smoke can cause health issues, so the importance to prohibit smoking in public places becomes increasingly relevant and critical.


Walking into a bar and eventually leaving smelling like you were hanging out in an ashtray all night is not only an annoyance, but the exposure to smoke can have detrimental effects on your health. Secondhand smoke has the potential to cause cancer, heart disease, and serious lung ailments. 


Evidence shows that businesses do not suffer because of smoke-free policies rather the policies typically create an economic advantage for businesses. Long-time customers remain loyal and new customers visit due to the new smoke-free environment for dining and entertainment. Frankly, I do not know many people that would enjoy a nice meal with a side of burning ashes. 


Now you may be thinking, “What if people do not comply with the smokefree policies?” Well, studies have shown that smoke-free policies typically have a high level of compliance. According to the CDC, compared to some businesses who have smoking restrictions like designated smoking areas, smokefree policies are easier to enforce.


Contacting local legislators is one step in protecting the health of all Hoosiers in addition to supporting smoke-free businesses and restaurants. 70% of Hoosiers who smoke want to quit and another way to encourage individuals to adopt cessation efforts is to advocate for and subsequently implement smoke-free policies among businesses within the community. 


Everyone has the right to clean air and trust me I’m not trying to blow smoke up your, well, you can fill in the rest. 


If your employer goes smoke-free and you need help to quit vaping or smoking, text READY to 200-400 or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW resources to quit.


The views expressed are those of the

writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Torch.  



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