The question of whether tobacco smoke is harmful to smokers was answered more than 20 years ago. U.S. Public Health Service reports on the health consequences of smoking have conclusively established cigarette smoking as the largest single preventable cause of premature death and disability in the United States. As a result many scientists began to question whether the low levels of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) received by nonsmokers could be harmful.
The 1986 Surgeon General’s Report on the Health Consequences of Involuntary Smoking clearly documents that nonsmokers are placed at increased risk for developing disease as the result of ETS exposure. The term “involuntary smoking” denotes that for many nonsmokers, exposure to ETS is the result of an unavoidable consequence of being in close proximity to smokers.
The report contains the following conclusions: (1) Involuntary smoking is a cause of disease, including lung cancer, in healthy nonsmokers. (2) Simple separation of smokers and nonsmokers within the same air space may reduce, but does not eliminate, exposure of nonsmokers to environmental tobacco smoke.
The quality of the indoor environment must be a concern of all who control and occupy that environment. Protection of individuals from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is therefore a responsibility shared by all. As employers and employees we must ensure that the act of smoking does not expose the nonsmoker to tobacco smoke. For smokers, it is their responsibility to assure that their behavior does not jeopardize the health of others. For nonsmokers, it is their responsibility to provide a supportive environment for smokers who are attempting to stop.
The scientific case against involuntary smoking as a health risk is more than sufficient to justify this legislative measure, the goal of which must be to protect the nonsmoker from environmental tobacco smoke.
(Added by Ord. 180-88, App. 4/28/88)