In 2010, the U.S. surgeon general concluded that even occasional exposure can lead to blood-vessel damage, heart attack and stroke. Hospitality workers are often exposed to secondhand smoke for eight hours or more.
As a consequence, nonsmokers who work in restaurants are 50 percent more likely to develop lung cancer and up to 30 percent more at risk for heart disease than nonsmokers in the general public. Tobacco-free work sites benefit both employers and employees by providing a healthier environment, reducing absenteeism, health-care costs and cleaning expenses for the employer.
The Alabama Department of Public Health offers free help to businesses to implement their own smoke-free policy. Eighty-five percent of the state population is not protected from secondhand smoke in work and public places. All Alabama workers have the right to a clean, safe work environment, free from the harmful toxins in secondhand smoke. You can help protect Alabama workers by signing a petition in support of smoke-free workplaces at www.tobaccofreealabama.org.
Coalition for a Tobacco-free Alabama