Fewer States Preempting Local Smoke-Free Rules

Number of laws to obstruct localities from setting more stringent restrictions has decreased

MONDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Some progress has been made on the Healthy People 2010 goal of eliminating state laws which enable states to preempt local restrictions on smoke-free areas that are more stringent than state laws, according to an article published in the Feb. 5 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Stephen Babb, and colleagues at the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in Atlanta, write that a review conducted by the CDC in 2005 of state tobacco control laws governing smoking restrictions in public and private sector workplaces, as well as restaurants, found that little had been done to stop states preempting localities' decisions to institute smoking restrictions more stringent than those at the state level.

However, in a review of changes to laws from the end of 2004 to the end of 2009, the number of states preempting local smoking bans in at least one of three types of locations -- government work sites, private-sector work sites and restaurants -- decreased from 19 to 12, the researchers note.

"In contrast with the 2005 findings, this decrease indicates progress toward achieving the goal of eliminating state laws preempting local smoking restrictions," the authors write. "Further progress could result in additional reductions in secondhand smoke exposure."

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