State Clean Indoor Air Act Marks Two Year Anniversary

New Study Shows Law is Helping Protect Workers, Public from Second-Hand Smoke

ALBANY, NY, July 27, 2005 – State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello M.D., M.P.H., Dr. P.H today announced that since the enactment of the State Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA) in 2003 restaurant and tavern workers' exposure to second-hand smoke has declined 78 percent. Dr. Novello's announcement marks the second anniversary of the CIAA and the results demonstrate that New York's law is protecting and enhancing the health of the public.

"New York's Clean Indoor Air Act ensures that every person's right to a smoke free work environment is protected," said Dr. Novello. "The act, coupled with New York's $40 million anti-tobacco program, demonstrates our strong commitment to stopping people from smoking cigarettes, preventing youth from starting to smoke and protecting the public from exposure to second-hand smoke. Our efforts are going a long way to further improve the health and well-being of all New Yorkers."

According to a study, funded by the State Health Department and published today in the international journal Tobacco Control, Changes in Hospitality workers exposure to second-hand smoke following the implementation of New York's smoke-free law, the State's CIAA is having a positive health impact on hospitality workers around the state. The number of hours that employees were exposed to second-hand smoke at work declined by 98 percent since the CIAA went into effect, decreasing from 12.1 hours in 2002 to 0.2 hours on average in 2004. The report can be obtained on-line at: http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/14/4/236.full.

The study looked at bar and restaurant worker exposure to second-hand smoke by measuring cotinine levels in worker saliva. Cotinine is a by-product of nicotine and a marker of exposure to second-hand smoke. The study found that levels of cotinine in workers declined by 78 percent within the first year after the law went into effect.

The findings are further supported by data from the Department's ongoing monitoring of tobacco-related attitudes and behaviors among adults. Only 3.7 percent of adults who visited restaurants and 13.8 percent of adults who visited bars reported observing smoking there – showing a 70 to 80 percent decline in these public venues.

Compliance with the law remains high at 93 percent in the state's 78,000 restaurants, bars and bowling facilities. Specifically, smoking was observed in 52 percent of restaurants prior to the law taking effect compared to only 1.1 percent in the first 12 months after the measure was enacted. Smoking was observed in 89 percent of bars prior to the law and in only 15.9 percent of bars 12 months after the law took effect.

More information about the study and the CIAA can be found on the Department's web site at: www.health.ny.gov . The NYS Smokers' Quit Line (1-866-NYQUITS) provides help for those who want to quit smoking. The public may also obtain helpful information on-line by visiting: http://www.nysmokefree.com/.