As a way to protect the federal workforce and visitors to federal facilities from secondhand smoke, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA) introduced legislation Friday to ban all smoking in federal buildings across the nation.
“Exposure to secondhand smoke is a serious health issue that drives up health care costs for all of us,” said Davis. “Federal workers should be able to work in a healthy, smoke-free environment.”
The Smoke-Free Federal Buildings Act (H.R. 3382) would prohibit smoking in and 25 feet around all facilities owned or leased by the federal government. Smoking sections would not be allowed inside a federal facility.
In 1997, President Clinton issued an Executive Order prohibiting smoking in most federal workplaces. Clinton’s order, however, contained exceptions for designated smoking areas within a federal building.
“President Clinton’s Order was a great first step,” Davis said. “But it’s time to take the next step and eliminate all smoking in federal buildings. Despite setting aside certain areas for smoking, we know that people still get exposed to secondhand smoke.”
According to the California Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 53,000 Americans die from exposure to secondhand smoke each year. A study by the U.S. Surgeon General found secondhand smoke still has health impacts even when it is limited to designated areas.