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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
|Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.|
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"I am pleased to say that patrons and employees are working in healthier environments thanks to the successful implementation of the Smoke Free Air Act in
While the act supports public health, the public also overwhelmingly supports the act. The Medical Society of New Jersey's October 2006 poll found 73 percent of residents approve of the law and its implementation, with support across all age, income, gender and political categories. Eighty-nine percent say that
Local health departments are responsible for enforcing the law, and are finding broad public support as well. In a survey conducted six months after the law took effect, 90 percent of the local health officers who responded reported that compliance was going very well in restaurants and 76 percent felt compliance was going very well in bars. Of the complaints received by the state, approximately 43 percent were for bars, 40 percent for other workplaces not including restaurants, and 17 percent for restaurants.
A study by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funded by NJ GASP (Group Against Smoking Pollution) found that workplace air quality saw a 91 percent reduction in pollutants and fell well within the limits prescribed by the Environmental Protection Agency after implementation of the new law. The study was carried out in 50 locations across 13 counties, and included restaurants, bars and bowling alleys.
"The dramatic improvement in air quality demonstrates the importance of the act for the families and workers of the
Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including 200 known poisons and, according to the National Cancer Institute, 69 known and probable cancer-causing substances. Secondhand smoke also exacerbates pediatric and adult asthma. Infants exposed to secondhand smoke are at greater risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and pregnant women who smoke risk having lower birth-weight babies.
Up to 62,000 adult nonsmokers die each year in the
Having seen the difficulties encountered by other localities that had enacted similar laws, the department took proactive steps and implemented proven best practices which were essential in easing the transition to smoke free workplaces. The DHSS and local public health departments issued guidelines, sample posters and window stickers to assist businesses in going smoke free.
Proposed rules for implementing specific details not spelled out in the Smoke Free Air Act were published in the NJ Register on May 15, 2006, beginning a year long adoption process. The public comment portion -- during which residents, employees, business owners and other interested parties offered changes and additions to the regulations – was completed on July 21, 2006. DHSS staff is currently in the final review stages, and final adoption will be filed within the next six weeks.
Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360