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November 7, 2007 > Limiting Secondhand Smoke Exposure at Local Businesses in the Tri-City Area

Limiting Secondhand Smoke Exposure at Local Businesses in the Tri-City Area

Submitted By Lee Staub

Like it or not, tobacco control in California is here to stay. It has been just over ten years since legislation was passed banning smoking within all indoor workplaces: the tobacco control movement in California continues to gain momentum within local and state governments. With the recent passing of SB 7, a bill that prohibits smoking in cars with minors, the public is becoming more cognizant of the health risks associated with secondhand smoke and wanting to take steps to limit exposure.

Over the past year, a total of twenty two businesses in the Tri-City area and one in San Leandro have taken measures to protect their customers from being exposed to secondhand smoke in doorways by posting signs requesting that smokers stand at least 20 feet away from entrances and windows. This effort is part of Tri-City Health Center's Just for Us tobacco control program. Now in its second year, Just for Us will continue to work to increase the number of businesses who adopt the voluntary secondhand smoke policy by establishing smoke free doorways. The effort is just one example of the hundreds of programs throughout the state in which businesses are working diligently to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke.

Secondhand Smoke is responsible for the deaths of 53,000 nonsmokers in the US each year, making it the third leading cause of preventable disease and death in this country. Cities across the state are taking important steps to protect its citizens from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Although smoke free doorways may seem a small step, many businesses feel comfortable with posting the doorway signs, feeling that taking this action will not deter customers and may actually attract more customers. Patrons who do not smoke are grateful not to have to walk through and bring their children through clouds of smoke when entering businesses. Patrons who do smoke are still allowed to do so, as long as they remain 20 feet from the doorway.

Tri-City Health Center's Just for Us tobacco prevention project is funded by California's Tobacco Control Section and seeks to reduce the general public's exposure to secondhand smoke, as well as provide smoking cessation classes. For more information, call (510) 713-6690 ext 6240.

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