The Clean Air Law in PA

Written by  Facing Cancer Together
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“We’ve done air quality studies, we’ve done economic impact studies, and we have seen that there has been no change in the revenue that is collected from those places that are smoke-free,” says Judy Ochs, the director for the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control.

pacapitolThe Clean Indoor Air Act, Act 27 of 2008, was signed into law on June 13, 2008.  The legislation prohibits smoking in a public place or a workplace and lists examples of what is considered a public place.  The bill allows for some exceptions, including a private residence (except those licensed as a child care facility), a private social function where the site involved is under the control of the sponsor (except where the site is owned , leased, or operated by a state or local government agency) and a wholesale or retail tobacco shop.  It also imposes penalties for those establishments in noncompliance, as well as those individuals smoking in prohibited areas. -From the PA Department of Health

ashtray“There are five exceptions in the law that are for drinking establishments, cigar bars, and tobacco shops,” she says adding that many businesses have actually seen many benefits to going tobacco-free. “By going smoke-free, especially in restaurants where they don’t have a liquor license, those businesses are very proud to report what has happened to them. They have new customers that are enjoying their food because they didn’t come in when they allowed smoking.” In addition to these benefits, Ochs says “The absenteeism of their wait staff is improved. Their insurance premiums are reduced because a fire hazard has been removed, even their cleaning expenses, so that’s a big win-win.”

Ochs believes that smoke-free environments will have a positive impact on kids who may be working at these establishments because it is a great step in preventing youth initiation. She says, “I think that the more you change the environment, the better you are in being able to keep a child or keep a young adult from even starting a lifetime addiction to the nicotine that’s in tobacco.”

Ochs says one day, all public places in Pennsylvania may ban smoking indoors.  Watch the video:

The state’s indoor smoking ban prohibits smoking in most public places, and Pennsylvanians are sounding off on the law.

Cory Warchola is a bartender at Molly Brannigans on Second Street in Harrisburg.  About the impact of the law on business there, she says, “Well, since the smoking ban our food sales have increased because we think that our customers want to eat in a smoke-free environment. We have seen a decrease in liquor sales, especially later on at night, because that’s when people like to be able to come into a bar and smoke and drink at the same time.”

Watch the video:

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