Colorado Governor Signs Smokefree Workplace Bill
New law will take effect on July 1
Parts excerpted from ABC News, 3/28/06
Colorado, 3/28/06-- Yesterday, Colorado Governor Bill Owens signed comprehensive smokefree workplace legislation. The law will clear the air in almost all Colorado workplaces, including restaurants and bars. Smoking will still be allowed in the gaming area of casinos, but not in casino restaurants and bars.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, secondhand smoke is the No. 1 source of indoor air pollution containing hazardous chemical compounds such as arsenic and formaldehyde. Like asbestos, it has been classified as a Class A carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Health Department states that secondhand smoke is responsible for the deaths of thousands of nonsmokers each year and is known to cause lung cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease in nonsmokers.
In Colorado, the costs attributable to secondhand smoke are estimated to be $180 million annually for direct medical expenses and $19 million for loss of life, according to the governor's office.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in Colorado. According to the Health Department, more people die from smoking each year than from alcohol, illegal drug abuse, AIDS, homicide, suicide, car accidents and fires combined.
Approximately 130,000 smokers develop smoking-caused illnesses each year in the state and the annual healthcare costs directly attributable to tobacco exceed $1 billion, or $259 per capita.
Colorado joins California, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Montana, Vermont, Washington, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and Washington DC all of which have passed comprehensive smokefree workplace legislation for workers, including restaurant and bar workers.