Oregon - one-year later, smoke-free law is a success..

January 17, 2010 - In June 2007, the Oregon legislature passed a law making the Oregon Smokefree Workplace Laweven stronger. The law expands the number of indoor workplaces that are required to be smokefree. The law also prohibits smoking within 10 feet of entrances, exits, windows that open, and ventilation intakes of workplaces or public places. The new restrictions went into effect as of January 1, 2009. (Oregon January 1, 2009 Smokng Ban Expanded..

Thanks to this law, nearly every Oregonian can breathe smoke-free air at work and in many public places. We’re several steps closer to the day when everyone will be free from the effects of tobacco use — a day when no one breathes toxic secondhand smoke, children no longer pick up the addiction and smokers kick the habit for good.

Oregon’s Smokefree Workplace Law is a success. A recent study found that 100 percent of bars observed across the state were in compliance with the new law in their indoor areas. And the law is helping smokers end their addiction. Nearly one in 10 callers to the Tobacco Quit Line in the last year said the new law motivated them to make the call.

In addition to implementation of the Smokefree Workplace Law, 2009 saw many businesses, educational institutions, hospitals, parks, fairs, apartment buildings and other places “resolve” to institute their own smoke-free, and even tobacco-free, policies.

In 2010, two new laws will take effect. One will require all landlords to disclose their smoking policies, and another will require health insurers to cover tobacco cessation as a core benefit.

Being smoke-free is quickly becoming the norm in Oregon, and that gives us much to celebrate. Yet many challenges — or perhaps opportunities — remain.

Seventeen percent of Oregonians still smoke. In some populations, that percentage is even higher.Too many Oregon kids are breathing secondhand smoke in their homes: 167,000. Too many Oregonians die annually from tobacco-related diseases: almost 7,000. Each year, tobacco costs Oregon too much money: more than $2 billion. And every year in Oregon, nearly one in four deaths can be attributed to tobacco use, including 800 from secondhand smoke.

Most Oregonians support smoke-free air and other tobacco prevention efforts. In fact, nine in 10 Oregonians agree that people should be protected from exposure to secondhand smoke, and 75 percent of smokers want to quit. Let’s work even harder to prevent our children from being exposed to secondhand smoke, particularly in our homes and cars.

And of course, let’s quit using tobacco. If you or a loved one needs help in doing so, please call the toll-free Oregon Tobacco Quit Line (800-QUIT-NOW or 877-2NO-FUME for Spanish speakers).

Reference: GUEST VIEWPOINT: The cigarette haze is clearing, but there’s more to be done by Herb Severson - senior research scientist at the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene,RegisterGuard.com, 1/15/2010.