There is no safe level of secondhand smoke. Even brief exposure can cause harm, leading to adverse health conditions such as lung cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, asthma and chronic bronchitis.
IT’S GREAT FOR BUSINESS.
Tobacco-free policies save money by reducing costs. Healthcare, insurance, maintenance and cleaning costs are all reduced when employees and facilities aren’t exposed to secondhand smoke. When businesses are tobacco-free, the overall work environment, level of productivity and health of employees improves.
Businesses small and large can take steps to provide a safe and healthy work environment for employees. Protect your most valuable assets by making your business tobacco-free. Implementing a tobacco-free business policy sends a clear message to employees and the community that:
“We care about the health and safety of our employees and customers.”
EVERYONE DESERVES THE RIGHT TO BREATHE SMOKEFREE AIR.
Alaska does not have a comprehensive smokefree workplace law, despite the majority of research indicating that smokefree policies do not harm business. Alaska has made great strides in tobacco prevention, and thousands of lives have been saved but there is still much work to do, and many Alaskans in blue collar and service industries are still at risk.
In 2010, 85 percent of Alaska adults reported that they believe smoking should not be allowed in work areas, including 71 percent of smokers.
In Alaska communities with laws that prohibit smoking in bars, 87 percent of adults reported they go to bars as much or more often now than they did before the law was implemented. Even among current smokers, 77 percent report that they go to bars as much or more often now than they did before the law was implemented.
ENCOURAGE YOUR EMPLOYEES TO QUIT TOBACCO
Reducing the number of employees who smoke or use smokeless tobacco can save lives and money. Encourage employees to quit. Alaska residents can call Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free coaching and nicotine replacement therapies.
Why is a Tobacco-Free Workplace a Good Idea?
Secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard, causing or worsening a wide range of adverse health effects, including lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections, and Non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their heart disease and lung cancer risk by up to 30 percent.
The 2006 S. Surgeon General’s Report, “The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke,” concluded that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke; ventilation and other air cleaning technologies cannot eliminate exposure of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke; and smoke-free workplace policies are the only effective way to eliminate secondhand smoke exposure in the workplace
Workers in the hospitality industry and other occupational settings where smoking is allowed are especially vulnerable to secondhand smoke-caused disease and premature death. Among those who work primarily indoors, young adults aged 18 to 29 are significantly less likely to be protected by a smoke-free indoor workplace policy than other Alaskan adults.
Only half of Alaska’s population is protected by a local law from secondhand smoke at work.
Several of Alaska’s remaining large-population centers do not have the legal health powers to enact smoke-free laws as second-class boroughs (Fairbanks North-Star Borough, Mat-Su Borough, Kenai Peninsula Borough). In addition to second class borough residents, approximately 70,000 Alaskans residing in unorganized areas are not currently protected.