SmokeFreeKentucky.org: Everyone has the right to breathe smokefree indoor air

Get the Facts

What is secondhand smoke?

When a person smokes near you, you breathe secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is the combination of smoke from the burning end of the cigarette and the smoke breathed out by smokers. When you breathe secondhand smoke, it is like you are smoking.

 


How much secondhand smoke is safe?

According to a report from the Surgeon General, there is no safe amount of secondhand smoke. Children, pregnant women, older people and people with heart or breathing problems should be especially careful. Even being around secondhand smoke for a short time can hurt your health.

 


Do 'no smoking' sections protect me from smoke?

Separate 'no smoking' sections in restaurants or public places do not protect you from secondhand smoke. Neither does filtering the air or opening a window. If someone is smoking in an area, the smoke disseminates throughout the open area. If you are in this area, you will most definitely be breathing in secondhand smoke.

 


What is in secondhand smoke that is so dangerous?

There are 4,000 chemicals found in secondhand smoke, many of these can hurt your health and are known to cause cancer. A few of these chemicals are listed below:

  • Arsenic — used in pesticides
  • Lead — once used in paint
  • Toluene — found in paint thinners
  • Ammonia — Used in household cleaners
  • Butane — Used in lighter fluid
  • Hydrogen Cyanide —Used chemical weapons
  • Carbon Monoxide — Found in car exhaust
  • Formaldehyde — used to embalm dead bodies

 


Is this an infringement on my property rights? Get the government out of the whole smoking/smokefree debate.

Government has a stake in regulating air quality in public places. Secondhand smoke contains proven carcinogens and causes coronary damage even in small amounts. A report by the U.S. Surgeon General in 2006 concludes secondhand smoke exposure significantly harms the health of those who do not smoke. When public health and safety are at stake, the government can and should override the property rights of business owners. We do it with food handling and fire safety. We prohibit heating systems that vent carbon monoxide into the air inside an establishment. Removing known carcinogens and other health hazards from the air workers breathe is an appropriate role for government.

 


This is victimizing smokers. They will have to stay home and drink.

Smoking – and all tobacco use – is legal for anyone 18 years and over. A smokefree ordinance does not change that. It does not prevent smokers from continuing to patronize bars, restaurants and other public places. The law simply requires people to step outside to light up.

 


I have heard that smokefree ordinances have a negative impact on business. Is this true?

While the tobacco industry has claimed for years that smokefree ordinances have a negative impact on business, particularly hospitality-oriented businesses, it is simply not true.  Every independent study ever done to show the economic effect of smokefree ordinances has shown that there is NO NEGATIVE IMPACT to businesses. If you would like to see for yourself – click here.

 


If people don’t like working in a smoking environment, why don’t they get another job?

No one should have to choose between a good job and good health. In this tough economy, many people do not have a choice. It is just not that simple.

 


This is Kentucky, where we value our independent spirit.

Kentucky has a culture of leaving people alone if they aren’t hurting anyone. Secondhand smoke hurts others. A smokefree law is true to this culture.

 


What is next? The government protecting me from fatty foods?

No, we are ONLY working to protect workers from the external dangers to their health.  We firmly believe in each individual's responsibility to make their own choices as long as those choices don't adversely affect others.