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Improving Air Quality in Your Community

Indoor Air: Reduce Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS)

You can help reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) that may affect workers, residents, neighborhoods, and the community by conducting the following activities:


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Sponsor a Smoke-Free Home Pledge Campaign

      How?
  • What It Is
    • A Smoke-Free Home Pledge Campaign is an outreach effort to encourage people to designate their homes as "smoke-free."
    • This campaign can work to protect children as well as adults from the health risks of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS).
    • The Smoke-Free Home Pledge Campaign may be used in conjunction with a comprehensive tobacco-use reduction program that includes a mix of activities aimed at support for smoking cessation and protection from exposure to ETS.
    • This type of campaign may also be a broader home indoor air quality campaign.
  • How to Sponsor a Smoke-Free Home Pledge Campaign
    • Hold a Smoke-Free Home Pledge Campaign Drive during other related events such as a at health fairs, sporting events, and school activities or meetings.
    • Along with information related to the campaign, offer information about the health impacts of ETS in the home. Maintain a booth or table with this information at public places such as libraries, community centers, or public buildings.
      Benefits
  • May help to reduce the incidents of sickness in children such as bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, asthma attacks, wheezing and coughing, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • May help to reduce the numbers of asthma attacks and coughing, wheezing, and respiratory illness in adults.
      Costs
  • Publicity, labor, and other costs to support the Smoke-Free Home Pledge Campaign.
  • EPA, the American Lung Association, and other organizations may provide awareness materials at no cost.
      More Information

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Encourage Smoke-Free Policies in Schools and Child Care Settings

      How?
  • Smoke-Free Policies
    • A smoke-free policy effectively protects children from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). EPA recommends implementing this policy at every organization that deals with children.
    • School-based non-smoking policies are important because the school environment should be free from ETS for health reasons and because teachers and staff are role models for children.
  • Smoke-Free Educational Programs
    • Key features of a smoke-free education program include
      • Multiple sessions over many grades
      • Social and physiological consequences of tobacco use
      • Information about social influences (e.g., peers, parents, and media)
      • Training in refusal skills
    • The effectiveness of school-based smoking prevention programs appears to be enhanced and sustained by comprehensive school health education and by community-wide programs that involve parents, mass media, community organizations, or other elements of an adolescent's social environment.
      Benefits
  • May reduce exposure of children to ETS.
      Costs
  • Time and effort to identify and reach out to schools and child care providers.
      More Information

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Encourage Smoke-Free Workplaces

      How?
  • Many possible smoking policies exist, but only two are viable in today's social and scientific environment. They are:
    • Smoke-Free - A smoke-free environment in company facilities and vehicles can be extended to include the property or grounds of the employer.
    • Separately ventilated areas - Employers can limit smoking to smoking rooms that are separately ventilated from the rest of the building.
  • Things to consider when developing a smoke-free policy:
    • Given the employees' interests, health, and work environment, what policy will provide them the most protection?
    • What policy will offer the greatest benefits to the company at the lowest cost?
    • What policy will management find most supportable?
    • What community ordinances exist governing smoking in public places or workplaces?
    • What are the customers' or the community's expectations regarding environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), given the policies in other similar workplaces and public sentiments regarding secondhand smoke?
    • Remember that communication is important to allay any misconceptions about a smoke-free workplace. Companies can also demonstrate its commitment to employees who smoke by offering help for them to quit.
  • Smoke-free Policy Implementation
    • Assess the current situation.
    • Decide on an ETS policy and develop a plan to implement it.
    • Communicate with employees and management.
    • Announce and manage the policy.
      Benefits
  • May reduce exposure to employees.
  • May reduce illnesses related to ETS in the workplace.
  • May reduce worker absenteeism due to ETS-related illnesses.
  • May reduce costs for employers, such as reduced healthcare costs, lower maintenance costs, and lower risk of fires.
      Costs
  • Inconvenience to employees who smoke.
  • Lost work time: if not properly managed, smokers may be disproportionately absent from their work stations.
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