Institute of Medicine

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) - part of the National Academies and established by Congressional Charter to advise the nation on scientific matters - issued a May 2007 report entitled, Ending the Tobacco Problem: A Blueprint for the Nation. This highly esteemed organization has a number of explicit findings and recommendations regarding smokefree air policy as part of a broader effort to end the tobacco epidemic.

The entire report contents can be read online free at this link (but you can only download by purchasing the report): http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11795.html#toc

There are helpful companion briefing documents for policymakers and healthcare providers at this link: http://www.iom.edu/CMS/3793/20076/43179.aspx

Key findings include:

  • Grassroots advocacy for clean air laws was the first major achievement of contemporary tobacco control efforts.
  • Clean air laws protect nonsmokers from the health effects of secondhand smoke;
  • Clean air laws help smokers quit, cut down on their smoking, and avoid relapses;
  • Clean air laws reinforce a nonsmoking social norm.
  • Clean air laws, in fact, have done more to reduce consumption than any intervention other than price increases for cigarettes.

IOM Recommendations:

Recommendation 4: States and localities should enact complete bans on smoking in all nonresidential indoor locations, including workplaces, malls, restaurants, and bars. States should not preempt local governments from enacting bans more restrictive than the state ban.

Recommendation 5: All health care facilities, including nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, and medical units in correctional facilities, should meet or exceed JCAHO standards in banning smoking in all indoor areas.

Recommendation 6: The American Correctional Association should require through its accreditation standards that all correctional facilities (prisons, jails, and juvenile detention facilities) implement bans on indoor smoking.

Recommendation 7: States should enact legislation requiring leases for multiunit apartment buildings and condominium sales agreements to include the terms governing smoking in common areas and residential units. States and localities should also encourage the owners of multi-unit apartment buildings and condominium developers to include nonsmoking clauses in these leases and sales agreements and to enforce them.

Recommendation 8: Colleges and universities should ban smoking in indoor locations, including dormitories, and should consider setting a smoke-free campus as a goal. Further, colleges and universities should ban the promotion of tobacco products on campus and at all campus-sponsored events. Such policies should be monitored and evaluated by oversight committees, such as those associated with the American College Health Association.

Recommendation 9: State health agencies, health care professionals, and other interested organizations should undertake strong efforts to encourage parents to make their homes and vehicles smoke free.

Recommendation 10: States should not preempt local governments from restricting smoking in outdoor public spaces, such as parks and beaches.

(Recommendations 1-3 relate to funding state programs and excise taxes)

This report is significant given the breadth and depth of the information on the benefits of smokefree air and strong recommendations to continue with smokefree endeavors. ANR encourages advocates and public health professionals to cite the IOM report in efforts to garner support for passing or strengthening smokefree laws and policies, as well as other tobacco control funding issues.