New Law Takes Effect Sept. 11; Online Resources Now Available
HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Health continues to educate the public about the Sept. 11 implementation of the Pennsylvania Clean Indoor Air Act, which will prohibit smoking in most public places, including restaurants, workplaces and a portion of casino floors.
"A smoke-free environment is the only effective measure to protect the public, including people at work, from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke," Secretary of Health Dr. Calvin Johnson said. "The Clean Indoor Air Act will help reduce this significant public health threat -- smoking-related illnesses and deaths."
The new law will prohibit smoking in a public place or a workplace and lists examples of what is considered a public place. The law 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 establishments not in compliance, as well as for individuals who smoke in prohibited areas. The department strongly encourages citizens to be aware of the penalties for smoking in non-smoking designated areas.
As the law's effective date approaches, the Department of Health is educating the public about its requirements and it is providing technical assistance to businesses in the implementation of no smoking policies.
Guidance and a toolkit for public places and workplaces, as well as frequently asked questions and materials useful in planning for the Clean Indoor Air Act, are available at http://www.health.state.pa.us.
The smoking ban is an initiative from the Governor's Prescription for Pennsylvania, a comprehensive health care reform plan which strives to make health care more affordable and accessible while improving quality.
A 2006 report from the U.S. Surgeon General documented the serious and deadly health effects of secondhand smoke on healthy non-smokers, which include developmental effects in children, heart disease in adults and cancer in sites beyond the lungs.
Resources for those individuals trying to quit smoking can also be found at http://www.health.state.pa.us, or by calling the state's quit line at 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669).
CONTACT: Holli Senior of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, +1-717-787-1783
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health