As people enjoy the health benefits of smokefree air indoors, it is only natural to want to enjoy those same benefits in outdoor areas, especially those where people gather or work and have high levels of exposure.
In response to increased public demand and new scientific information on the health hazards in close-quarter outdoor areas, many communities with smokefree indoor air laws have expanded, or are considering expanding, smokefree protections to some outdoor public places.
These areas include outdoor workplaces, restaurant and bar patios, service lines, transit waiting areas, public events like county fairs and farmer's markets, as well as parks, beaches, and recreation areas.
It's important for communities to continue focusing on achieving smokefree air for indoor public places and workplaces first, because that is where the majority people are still most exposed to secondhand smoke. Public demand and support for working on outdoor areas often increases once communities are smokefree indoors.
View ANR Foundation's quarterly lists of Smokefree Outdoor Areas
Secondhand Smoke Exposure Outdoors
Scientific research on outdoor exposure to secondhand smoke has grown in recent years.
In 2005, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) released a report that evaluated the first-ever monitoring of the level of outdoor exposure to secondhand smoke on the health of California residents. Based on the conclusions of this report, the ARB adopted a regulatory amendment that identified secondhand smoke as a toxic air contaminant - an outdoor air pollutant that may cause or contribute to an increase in deaths or in serious illness, or which may pose a present or potential hazard to human health.
In 2007, Stanford University researchers published an in-depth study of outdoor secondhand smoke levels. The primary finding is that secondhand smoke exposure levels can be significant near an active smoker.
In 2009, a study published in Preventive Medicine looked at how common smoking is on bar patios in Toronto, Canada, and how much particulate matter was in the air, in order to assess whether smokefree bar laws provide adequate protection to bar workers. The study concluded that smokefree bar laws do not provide workers with adequate protection from SHS if smoking is allowed on adjacent patios.
This study provides compelling evidence that communities should continue addressing secondhand smoke exposure beyond indoor worksites, especially to areas adjacent to indoor workplaces.
Outdoor Dining Areas
Patio areas of restaurants and bars are both workplaces and areas where people are closely congregated, so these venues are frequently addressed in smokefree efforts. People outdoors that are near secondhand smoke for extended periods of time, such as wait staff or diners on patios, can be exposed at levels that exceed the EPA limit on fine particulate matter pollution.
Patio dining areas are outdoor workplaces that are particularly important areas to address, since nonsmokers and smokers are in close proximity and it is often not easy to move away from smoke when working in these areas or patronizing these businesses. The employees who often have to work in both the smokefree indoor areas of the establishment and the patios cannot escape the smoke when working their outdoor tables.
Numerous cities -- including Beverly Hills, CA; Hawaii County, HI, Alton, TX; Starkville, MS; and Hesston, KS - plus Maine, Iowa, and Hawaii, have enacted smokefree laws for outdoor patio areas of restaurants with some provisions including bar patios too.
In Santa Monica, CA, a Fresh Air Dining smokefree dining campaign encouraged
restaurants to voluntarily make their outdoor dining areas smokefree and publicized
those restaurants that make a smokefree commitment. Later, the city adopted
a law to bring smokefree air to all outdoor dining areas of restaurants and
Other Outdoor Workplaces
The Canadian bar study provides compelling evidence that communities should continue addressing secondhand smoke exposure beyond indoor worksites, especially to areas adjacent to indoor workplaces.
Boston, Massachusetts, adopted a law in 2008 that requires that outdoor workplaces adjacent to indoor workplaces to be smokefree. The city recognized that employees in outdoor worksites who suffer from secondhand smoke exposure deserve the same health protections as people in indoor worksites.
More than 1,136 communities and numerous states have enacted smokefree entryway provisions that help keep smoke from drifting indoors.
Smokefree entryway, or "reasonable distance," laws require that no
smoking occur within a certain distance (usually 15-25 feet) of doorways, operable
windows, and air intake vents of smokefree buildings. These policies help prevent
secondhand smoke from drifting back into the building. The policies also allow
employees and customers to access the building without walking through clouds
Parks and Beaches
Secondhand smoke exposure is just one reason why communities and states are adopting smokefree park and beach laws. There are also strong environmental reasons for expanding smokefree policies to these outdoor venues.
The trash created by cigarette butts tossed on the ground is a significant environmental problem. Cigarette butts are a leading source of pollution in parks and beaches. The butts are full of the same chemicals and toxins as the cigarettes themselves, plus the filters are made from cellulose acetate, a plastic that can break into tiny pieces, but will never biodegrade or disappear. They are hazardous and highly toxic to fish, birds, other wildlife, plus pets and young children if they are ingested. Butts tossed on sidewalks often end up in our waterways and washed back onto beaches.
Fire danger is also a compelling environmental and safety reason why smoking is not allowed on beaches and in parks. In 2007, a discarded cigarette caused a massive fire that burned one quarter of Los Angeles' 4,210 acre Griffith Park. The fire provided motivation for the city of Los Angeles to adopt a law requiring all city parks to be smokefree.
In many communities, smokefree air coalitions have teamed up with environmental organizations to work together on smokefree park and beach efforts due to their common interests of keeping these recreation areas and natural spaces clean, healthy, and safe for all to enjoy.
In Southern California, some coalitions working on smokefree beaches developed a key partnership with the SurfRider Foundation, which focuses on coastal environmental issues.
Many beachfront tourist destinations have smokefree beaches. Communities along
the New Jersey shore led the way and have been adopting smokefree beach laws
since 2001. In California, numerous beaches from San Diego to Los Angeles are
smokefree due to locally adopted policies. In 2009, Maine
adopted a smokefree law for beaches, parks, playgrounds and other areas
of state parks. The law was adopted for both public health and environmental
reasons, to create public spaces that are healthier and safer for both people
and the environment.
Examples of Smokefree Signs for Outdoor Areas
Click on thumbnails to view full-size images
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Related Research | News
park policies slow to catch on: study
battle moves outdoors; bans increase
pub beer gardens now become smoking gardens?
levels of second-hand smoke found on Montreal patios
Anti-tobacco advocates are using a new study to make the case for a smoking ban on bar and restaurant patios. A researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland found harmful levels of second-hand smoke in a survey of Montreal bar patios. The study found that a single lit cigarette could create air quality levels comparable to a smoggy day in Los Angeles. Professor Ryan Kennedy, who conducted the study, says the tests suggests second-hand smoke can be harmful outdoors, even on a windy day.
Applaud NY Playground Smoking Ban
bans at Honolulu parks and bus stops approved
Lighting Up Next to Entrances Pollute Venue Air Quality ...
Mayor bans smoking at Oahu's beaches and parks
banned within Camden Yards stadiums
Vote To Ban Smoking At Street Fairs
approves outdoor smoking ban for streets and sidewalks in the hospital
Smoking Bans: Impossible to Enforce, or Inevitable?
Make parks smoke-free
Rafael officials approve tough new smoking rules
Outside, Harmful Smoke Spreads
Few studies have looked at the risks of breathing second-hand smoke
... Ga., on patios outside a family restaurant and a bar where smoking
was permitted, and ...
Evaluate Attitudes Toward Outdoor Smoking Ban
Fifty-seven percent of patients who were smokers also favored the ban. The study ... "Research on the effects of smoking bans on employees is scarce, however. ...
on footpaths increases hazardous air pollutants
Other likely benefits of smokefree streets would be decreased street
cleaning costs from less cigarette butt litter, a better public image
for a city, the reduction of ...
Wellington City sports parks and playgrounds are to become smokefree
areas, as the Council moves to support the Government's goal of making
New Zealand ...
County Snuffs Out Patio Smoking
Outdoor areas at restaurants and bars off-limits for Sonoma County smokers. ... Restaurants, bars forced to ban smoking in outdoor areas ... Smoking is already banned in common areas of apartment complexes, county-owned properties, and ...
Our View: Ban Smoking in County Parks
Steve Stuart and Tom Mielke still dont get it. The two Clark County commissioners just cant bring themselves to ban smoking in county parks.Oh, theyre getting it when it comes to political points from some folks who praise them for supposedly upholding smokers rights. But heres what erodes their credibility as they acknowledge that applause: By continuing to heap confusing details and detailed regulations upon smokers in parks, the two commissioners have done everything BUT ban smoking in county parks. Heres what they were up to earlier this week:
group not lovin' smoke at California McDonald's
A consumer advocacy organization has sued McDonald's, alleging the fast-food chain has violated California law by permitting smoking in outdoor areas without warning its customers or employees of secondhand-smoke exposure. ...
bans smoking on LIRR platforms
moves toward outdoor smoking ban
Cambridge is taking more steps toward banning smoking in public places.
Public Health Officer Claude-Alix Jacob said in a memo to City Council that the citys Public Health Department is looking to create a working group that would explore issues involved when cities ban smoking in public parks, beaches and other places.
According to his memo, which was written Dec. 14, the group would look at outdoor smoking bans throughout the country and the scientific literature on the health impact of such bans. It would also consider specific attributes of Cambridges public places, the feasibility of enforcing a ban and the feasibility of an outreach campaign that would precede enforcement ...
village bans smoking on public sidewalks
in Outdoor Areas Increases Health Risk
City of Ithaca outdoor smoking rules start Aug. 1
But the truth is, particularly on public property, the signs are just requests.
Starting next Saturday, in areas throughout the city, the request will no longer be optional. The City of Ithaca's much-discussed outdoor smoking regulations go into effect Aug. 1.
The ordinance states that someone smoking in a smoke-free area can be asked by a police officer to move or put out the tobacco product. If the smoker refuses, a first-offense ticket is $75. A second offense is $150 and a third offense is $250.
The change actually won't help deter the motivated smoker outside the human services building -- it only applies 25 feet around city buildings and schools. But it will prevent smoking in a host of other locations, including bus shelters, playgrounds, small city parks, all natural areas and around mobile vending carts. ...
Authority To Consider Ban On Bus Stop Smoking
WSTA general manager Art Barnes said there haven't been many complaints, but there were enough to warrant an inquiry.
Barnes said he plans to present the issue to the full board next Thursday. ...
approve smoking ban
Starting today, lighting up at most of Santa Barbara Countys 70 parks, beaches and trails will be a no-no.
In an effort to reduce litter, pollution and help ensure a clean-air environment exists for all park goers, the Board of Supervisors in May approved a smoking ban, which will go into effect today.
Smokers cringing at the thought of paying stiff fines, however, need not worry.
The main thrust of enforcing the ban, explained Michele Mickiewicz, a spokeswoman for the Public Health Department, is education.
The approach that were using isnt really punitive, she said. The signs are the primary driver.
By the end of this month, Mickiewicz said signs will be posted at all of the countys parks and beaches, with the exception of Cachuma Lake and Jalama Beach, where overnight camping is allowed and smoking will be permitted.
In addition to the signs, county officials will attempt to educate the public about the ban through bilingual newspaper and radio advertisements throughout the summer. ...
Partnerships Launch 'Tobacco Free Outdoors'
ALBANY, N.Y., June 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Community Partnerships for a Tobacco Free New York launched a campaign to educate New Yorkers about the benefits of tobacco free outdoor recreational areas. The campaign raises awareness of the environmental impact of tobacco litter, dangers of secondhand smoke and influence on children when tobacco use is not restricted.
Tobacco litter is poisonous to children and wildlife. Discarded cigarette butts are the most common form of litter. Studies show they are toxic, slow to decompose, and costly to remove. Cigarette butts have been found in the stomachs of fish, whales, birds and other marine animals and can cause digestive blockages. Children routinely pick them up and try to place in their mouths.
"The Community Partnership has designed a paid media campaign to educate communities about why we need to adopt more tobacco free outdoor policies," said Susan Kennedy, CP Media Project Coordinator. "Family recreation for children should not mean having to play among cigarette butts or being exposed to secondhand smoke. ...
snuffing out smoking outdoors
A tall nonfat caramel macchiato with extra foam, please. Just hold the smoke.
Starting Monday, Starbucks customers are welcome to sit outside and sip a while as long as they don't light up. The international coffee giant is extending its ban on indoor smoking to outdoor patios and dining areas in California.
disappoints backers of Calif. smoking ban
SACRAMENTO, Calif. Advocates of a bill that would have banned smoking at all California state parks and beaches say they're disappointed in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision to veto the measure.
"We're very dismayed to see the governor has not prioritized clean and healthy beaches, especially since our coast lines are a driving force to our California economy," said Angela Howe, an attorney for the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation, a San Clemente-based environmental organization.
The foundation had hoped Schwarzenegger would follow a 2008 recommendation by the California Ocean Protection Council to ban smoking at all state beaches to help reduce polluting marine debris.
But the cigar-smoking Schwarzenegger vetoed legislation that would have done that Monday, saying the bill crossed the line of government intrusion.
In a letter to California senators, the governor said state parks and local governments were already permitted to ban smoking on a case-by-case basis.
"There is something inherently uncomfortable about the idea of
the state encroaching in such a broad manner on the people of California,"
Schwarzenegger wrote. ...
to ban smoking in public areas
Smoking will soon be banned from nearly all areas open to the public in San Luis Obispo, the City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday night.
Under the new law, which would be effective May 20 after it is given final approval at the councils April 20 meeting, smoking would be prohibited in indoor and outdoor areas frequented by the public, including sidewalks, parking garages, bars, restaurants, stores, stadiums, playgrounds and transit centers.
Lighting up in outdoor areas would be banned in areas that are within 20 feet of indoor areas. ...
Closer Look / Outdoor smoking bans
...But, says Stanton Glantz, who directs the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UC San Francisco, "a cigarette is like a little toxic waste dump on fire. If you're upwind of it, you don't have much effect. But if you happen to be in the plume -- or you're congregating around a doorway -- you can get quite high levels of exposure."
Cigarette smoke contains hundreds of chemicals, including benzene, carbon monoxide and nicotine, many of them known carcinogens. Fine particulate matter within smoke can carry those chemicals deep into the lungs, Glantz says.
Here's a closer look at the health effects of secondhand smoke. . . .
considers smoking ban at all state parks
Maine banned smoking at its state beaches last year, but groups that track such legislation say no state prohibits lighting up throughout its entire park system, as the California bill proposes.
Under a legislative compromise, campsites and parking areas will be exempted from the ban.
"It is very clear that the garbage that is created as a result
of smoking on beaches - butts and wrappers - are polluting our water,"
Democratic state Sen. Jenny Oropeza of Long Beach, the bill's author,
said in an interview. "In terms of the state park system, we have
a major fire hazard when cigarettes are smoked in parks." ...
supervisors vote to get tougher on smoking
Smoking soon will be snuffed out at sidewalk cafes, restaurant patios, movie and ATM lines, bingo halls and the common areas of housing complexes.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to extend smoking restrictions to those places, along with lighting up near doorways and windows of offices, shops and restaurants. It already is illegal to smoke in offices and commercial establishments that don't have a legally designated smoking area.
"This legislation will protect thousands of San Franciscans from
secondhand smoke," said Supervisor Eric Mar, chief sponsor of the
widens smoking ban
RANCHO CUCAMONGA - Smoking and waiting in lines do not mix, according
to the City Council, which gave initial approval on Wednesday to an
ordinance that prohibits tobacco use in transit stops and outdoor service
Fabian Villenas of the city manager's office said people waiting in lines are a captive audience.
"If you're in line and an individual lights a cigarette, it's difficult to remove yourself from the second-hand smoke," Villenas said.
Under the leadership of Mayor Don Kurth, the city has been studying anti-smoking legislation since 2007.
In January 2008, the city passed an ordinance that banned smoking at city-owned properties such as public parks, Victoria Gardens Cultural Center and City Hall. Since then, the city manager's office has continued to study further restrictions.
The smoking ban at transit stops and service lines is a less stringent measure compared to bans that would affect sidewalks, apartments and outdoor dining areas. More stringent bans were considered but did not receive approval from a City Council majority.
Once the ordinance affecting transit stops and service lines goes into
effect, violators could face a fine of $100 for first violation, $200
for second violation and $500 for additional violations. ...
parks chief relaxes smoking ban to a 25-foot rule
That regulation totally banning smoking in Seattle parks? Never mind about the "totally" part. Just smoke, chew or engage in "other tobacco use" 25 feet away from other park patrons, said Parks Superintendent Timothy Gallagher in a news release issued late Thursday afternoon. If that sounds like backtracking, it is. . . .
It seems public comments that railed against the new rule worked.
Gallagher wasn't available to personally make a statement on the matter on Thursday because on Monday he went skiing in Oregon, and he won't be back at work until next Monday, said Parks spokeswoman Dewey Potter.
Potter said she didn't know where in Oregon Gallagher was, but apparently
he learned the extent of the public reaction via an Internet or phone
bans tobacco in Seattle parks
Seattle Parks Superintendent Timothy Gallagher announced a ban on tobacco in Seattle parks Wednesday, overruling an advisory board that last week voted against it.
His ruling put an end to the public debate over whether people should be allowed to smoke and chew in Seattle's parks. In the end, Gallagher wrote in a memo, the ban was a health issue.
The ban aims to protect park users from secondhand smoke and cut down on litter caused by cigarette butts. It was also spurred by concerns that smokers set a poor example for children.
"The negative health effects of tobacco are well documented," Gallagher wrote. "As an agency that has a fundamental mission to support the health and well-being of Seattle residents, it is appropriate and beneficial to prohibit the use of tobacco products at parks and park facilities."
The ban takes effect April 1.
Gallagher's decision is within his authority as parks superintendent, but the Seattle City Council could pass an ordinance to overrule it. ...
Lawmakers Weigh Smoking Ban For Parks, Beaches
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) ? State lawmakers are considering bills banning smoking at state parks and beaches.
One would ban smoking at the park's public gathering areas, such as the pavilions and restrooms.
At a legislative hearing Thursday, Ted Austin of the Parks and Recreation Department said his agency is not taking a position on the proposal but says it does get complaints about second-hand smoke.
But the acting head of the Cigar Association of New Hampshire, Ed Santamaria, said the bill would infringe on people's ability to enjoy themselves in the parks. ...
council extends smoking ban to outdoor cafes
With the move, city officials are following the lead of municipalities across California, including Burbank, Beverly Hills, Calabasas and Santa Monica, which already ban smoking in outdoor dining areas. California law bars smoking inside restaurants and bars.
The ordinance prohibits smoking within 10 feet of outdoor dining areas and within 40 feet of mobile food trucks. ...
Proposed Smoking Ban Could Lead Nation
When the statewide smoking ban took effect in 1999, Capitola's cigarette and cigar puffers were driven outdoors. But soon the outdoors -- or at least much of it -- may no longer be an option.
A proposal put forth by Capitola Councilman Dennis Norton would ban smoking on the Esplanade, the wharf, at city parks, the library, City Hall and the Stockton Avenue Bridge.
Beyond that, Norton also hinted at the possibility of a citywide ban in 2010 that would apply to all public outdoor spaces.
Citing concerns about secondhand smoke and piles of cigarette butt litter, Norton says it's time to take action. ...
science behind moving smoking bans outside
"If you want to argue for parkwide smoking bans based on asthma or on an analogy to noise pollution, go ahead and make that case. But let's not cloud that debate by invoking the general harm of secondhand smoke. Studies of secondhand smoke have indeed moved outdoors. Their findings support restrictions on lighting up within a few feet of other people. But they don't warrant more than that."
A new study published in the November issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene may contribute to the debate. Researchers from the University of Georgia measured second hand smoke exposure among people sitting in the outdoor areas of bars and restaurants where indoor smoking was banned in the city of Athens, Georgia. . . .
generally speaking, hanging out in an outdoor smoking area exposes
you to less second hand smoke than being in an indoor, confined space
with smokers, and the more space you have between yourself and smokers,
the lower levels of exposure you will have. So, this particular study
doesn't ring the death knell for outdoor smoking. But, the researchers
point out, wielding the official trump card of the public health argument:
In other words, the movement to ban smoking in outdoor spaces is here to stay.
raises concerns about outdoor second-hand smoke
Indoor smoking bans have forced smokers at bars and restaurants onto outdoor patios, but a new University of Georgia study in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that these outdoor smoking areas might be creating a new health hazard.
The study, thought to be the first to assess levels of a nicotine byproduct known as cotinine in nonsmokers exposed to second-hand smoke outdoors, found levels up to 162 percent greater than in the control group. The results appear in the November issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.
"Indoor smoking bans have helped to create more of these outdoor environments where people are exposed to secondhand smoke," said study co-author Luke Naeher, associate professor in the UGA College of Public Health. "We know from our previous study that there are measurable airborne levels of secondhand smoke in these environments, and we know from this study that we can measure internal exposure.
"Secondhand smoke contains several known carcinogens and the current thinking is that there is no safe level of exposure," he added. "So the levels that we are seeing are a potential public health issue."
Athens-Clarke County, Ga., enacted an indoor smoking ban in 2005, providing Naeher and his colleagues and ideal environment for their study. ...
Desert City Council passes smoking restrictions
The Palm Desert City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to approve new restrictions on public smoking aimed at cutting down secondhand smoke in the city.
The measure most likely will not take effect until the new year, as it was the plan's first reading and the second reading and final vote is not likely until December.
Nevertheless, Thursday's 5-0 vote means all buildings and businesses in Palm Desert will have to keep smokers at least 20 feet from their main entrances. ...
voters OK ban on beach smoking
Voters at last night's town meeting gave a big thumbs down to those who like to light up on the town's public beaches.
Smoking is no longer allowed on any of the town's 11 public beaches, following a 128-60 vote that makes Falmouth the third community on the Cape to snuff out smoking on municipal beaches. Proponents of the ban cited litter in the form of errant cigarette butts in the sand, as well as the harm caused by secondhand smoke, as the main reasons to pass the smoking ban warrant item. . . .
In the end, a majority of town meeting voters said they were tired of "inconsiderate" people on the beach who refuse to move even after complaints and throw cigarette filters in the sand, where young children often find them while building sand castles.
to ban outdoor smoking at restaurants
The closest thing to a smoking section for Fremont eateries soon will be the parking lot.
The City Council unanimously backed a new law Tuesday prohibiting restaurants from allowing smoking at outdoor tables.
The law, which is scheduled to go into effect in early December, puts Fremont on par with most East Bay cities, including Hayward, which already has banned outdoor smoking at restaurants, City Attorney Harvey Levine said. ...
ban in Ayer covers the great outdoors
It was a recent trip to the park that finally did it.
Jason Mayo watched as a father pushed his child on a swing, cigarette clenched between his teeth. On every upswing, the child got a face full of exhaled smoke.
"We can't tell people how to parent,'' said Mayo, a member of the Ayer parks and recreation committee, which has banned smoking in the town's recreation areas. "But all the other kids around him were inhaling that cigarette too.''
As antismoking sentiment sweeps across the country, nonsmokers are taking back bars, restaurants, and workplaces, snuffing smoking out of its indoor havens. And now some of them are turning their sights on the great outdoors.
Holliston and Upton have enacted similar outdoor smoking bans. And in another example of the widespread public crackdown on smoking, Needham has outlawed the sale of cigarettes in pharmacies and Newton and Framingham are trying to do the same. ...
officials express support for smoking ban in outdoor dining areas
A Los Angeles City Council committee voiced support today for a ban on smoking in the city's outdoor dining areas, but ordered several changes to the ordinance before sending it to the full council for approval.
The council could take up the measure as early as next month.
City code already prohibits smoking in parks, farmers' markets and on city beaches, while state law bars customers from lighting up inside restaurants. Other cities have imposed far more restrictive bans; Calabasas, for instance, prohibits smoking in public areas.
The legislation authored by Councilmen Greig Smith and Dennis Zine would ban smoking within a 10-foot radius of outdoor dining areas. The proposed no-smoking area around mobile food trucks and food kiosks would extend for 40 feet.
Bars, private events and nightclubs serving customers older than 18 would be exempt. ...