Thousands of Federal Workers Now Protected from Secondhand Smoke Exposure

A new GSA policy on smoking in GSA buildings is now effective. This affects about 30 percent of all federal employees, according to the American Lung Association, which is asking President Obama to issue an executive order to remove smoke from the workplaces of all federal employees whether or not their workplace is under GSA control.

Charles D. Connor, President and CEO of the American Lung Association notes that a federal smokefree workplace policy is now in place and that will protect thousands of workers from the dangers posed by secondhand smoke. The American Lung Association applauds the Government Services Administration (GSA) for issuing this strong policy to ensure a safe and healthy work environment and urges them to ensure smokers have access to get the help they need to quit.

This policy only applies to an estimated 30 percent of all federal buildings in the United States that are under GSA control. This potentially leaves thousands of federal workers still exposed to secondhand smoke while at work and at risk for developing diseases including lung cancer as a result. In order to protect all federal workers, the American Lung Association is urging President Obama to issue an executive order making all federal workplaces smokefree.

In 2006, the U.S. Surgeon General released a report revealing that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in those who are exposed to it. Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia have passed comprehensive smokefree workplace laws, protecting the public and workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. But many federal workers – including those living in otherwise smokefree states – are still exposed to secondhand smoke every day at work.