New Pa. Smoking Ban Law Takes Effect Sept. 11

With the Sept. 11 effective date of Pennsylvania’s Clean Indoor Air Act fast approaching, the Department of Health is reminding businesses about online resources to help them comply with the law that will ban smoking in most public places, including restaurants, workplaces and a portion of casino floors.

 Guidance and a downloadable toolkit for public places and workplaces, as well as frequently asked questions and materials useful in planning for the Clean Indoor Air Act, are available at www.health.state.pa.us.

In addition, businesses may now call a dedicated helpline at 1-877-835-9535 to request a toolkit or receive assistance with specific questions.

The new law will prohibit smoking in a public place or a workplace and lists examples of what is considered a public place. The law allows for some exceptions, including a private residence (except those licensed as a child-care facility), a private social function where the site involved is under the control of the sponsor (except where the site is owned, leased, or operated by a state or local government agency) and a wholesale or retail tobacco shop.

It also imposes penalties for establishments not in compliance, as well as for individuals who smoke in prohibited areas. The department strongly encourages citizens to be aware of the penalties for smoking in non-smoking designated areas.

The smoking ban is an initiative from the Governor's Prescription for Pennsylvania, a comprehensive health care reform plan which strives to make health care more affordable and accessible while improving quality.

A 2006 report from the U.S. Surgeon General documented the serious and deadly health effects of secondhand smoke on healthy non-smokers, which include developmental effects in children, heart disease in adults and cancer in sites beyond the lungs.

Resources for those individuals trying to quit smoking can also be found at www.health.state.pa.us, or by calling the state’s quit line at 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669).

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