UK Professor Reviews Smoke-Free Laws

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 7, 2010) − New research published in a supplement to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) concludes that Minnesota’s statewide smoke-free law has not adversely affected bar and restaurant employment. The AJPM supplement included the work of Ellen Hahn, professor in the University of Kentucky College of Nursing and director of the Tobacco Policy Research Program.

In Hahn's paper, she reviewed and summarized the smoke-free policy research conducted in the U.S. and globally over the past decade. Health outcomes and economic impact studies overwhelmingly support the fact that smoke-free laws improve health of communities and do not harm business.

Exposure to secondhand smoke decreases, indoor air quality improves, workers are protected, adult and youth smoking levels decrease, smokers are more likely to quit, heart attacks and asthma visits decline, and infant/birth outcomes may improve. In addition to the benefits to health, economic studies confırm that smoke-free laws do not hurt business revenues or operating costs.

“Smoke-free laws clear the air, and they are a powerful, cost-effective vaccine protecting whole communities from heart and asthma attacks,” Hahn said.

Yet, 53 percent of Americans remain unprotected by comprehensive smoke-free workplace laws. In Kentucky, 68% remain unprotected by such laws. Hahn calls for more research focusing on population groups especially affected by tobacco smoke such as those with low income who may not be protected by smoke-free laws.

This is the third American Journal of Preventive Medicine supplement to highlight ClearWay Minnesota's funded research projects. These new findings focus on clean indoor air policies, increasing access to treatment, and health disparities. The importance of indoor air policies is reflected in a series of papers examining the impact of local and statewide smokefree policies on air quality, employment, revenue, and young adult perceptions. The findings in this supplement represent an additional opportunity to improve programs, policy, and practice, and thereby reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.

For more information about smoke-free policy research, visit or find kysmokefree on Twitter and Facebook.