The Maryland Department of Health announced today the 10-year anniversary of the implementation of the Clean Indoor Air Act. On February 1, 2008, nearly all indoor workplaces and public spaces, including bars and restaurants, became smoke-free.
“Maryland has seen significant declines in exposure to indoor secondhand smoke and its related health risks in the past 10 years,” said Health Secretary Robert R. Neall. “This is a change that has greatly benefitted the health of all Marylanders and Maryland businesses.”
The U.S. Surgeon General concluded there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Major health risks for children exposed include an increased risk for SIDS, acute respiratory infections, and more severe asthma. Adults experience immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system; repeated exposure could also cause coronary heart disease and lung cancer.
“Maryland children age 10 and under are our first smoke-free generation,” proclaimed Dr. Howard Haft, deputy secretary for Public Health Services. “They have never visited a Maryland restaurant, public facility, or workplace where smoking is allowed. The Department is committed to continuing its efforts to further reduce, prevent, and protect Marylanders from the harmful effects of tobacco use.”
While tobacco use has declined by 14 percent since 2012 among adults and by more than 46 percent among high school youth since 2000, there are still more than 800,000 youth and adult tobacco users in Maryland. New challenges, including youth use of vape products, call for innovative strategies to protect our youth, adults, and the public.
Maryland offers helpful resources both for those seeking to quit smoking or to help others quit, including the Maryland Tobacco Quitline. Current smokers and concerned friends and relatives are encouraged to access Maryland Tobacco Quitline free resources, which include free telephone, web and text counseling, and free nicotine patches and gum. The Quitline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be reached by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visiting www.SmokingStopsHere.com
“Having smoke-free bars, restaurants, and workplaces protects not only Maryland workers, but also children, pregnant women, and all restaurant and bar patrons” added Secretary Neall. “Residents and visitors can enjoy attractions in Maryland without having to worry about being exposed to toxins from secondhand smoke. This anniversary is an important opportunity to celebrate a decade of smoke-free indoor air in public spaces.”
Throughout 2018, the Department and its partners will celebrate this important milestone and the benefits of clean indoor air. Additional information will be announced as it becomes available.