New GSA Policy Eliminates Interior Smoking Areas

The General Services Administration’s Federal Management Regulation Bulletin 2009-B1, published today, eliminates the exemption that designated smoking areas inside federal workplaces. It has been GSA policy since Oct. 20, 1997, to bar smoking of tobacco products indoors in every owned, rented, or leased federal spaces except in specially equipped, designated smoking areas and outdoors in front of air intake ducts; that 1997 policy said executive agency heads should evaluate the need to restrict smoking in courtyards and near doorways, as well.

The new bulletin says the studies issued since then show secondhand smoke is more dangerous than previously believed, and 26 states have since banned smoking in all of their government buildings, and 19 have banned it in all private workplaces.

GSA is providing a six-month phase-in period to give agencies enough time to implement the policy change. Executive agency heads "are encouraged to use existing authority to establish programs designed to help employees stop smoking," today's Federal Register notice says. Smoking cessation program materials for federal agency employees are available from CDC at this Web site.

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