Breathe Free PA FAQ’s

Who are the members of Breathe Free Pennsylvania?

Any supporter of comprehensive clean indoor air laws that provide for 100% smoke free workplaces can be a member of Breathe Free Pennsylvania. The founding members of Breathe Free Pennsylvania are the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), American Heart Association (AHA), American Lung Association (ALA), Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) and the Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco (PACT).

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Doesn’t Pennsylvania already have a comprehensive clean indoor air law?

The Pennsylvania Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA) passed in 2008 included many exceptions.
The law exempts the following places, permitting smoking in:

  • Private residences or vehicles, unless they are being used for child care, adult day care or services related to the care of children and youth in state or county custody.
  • Twenty-five percent of the total number of sleeping quarters available for rent in a single lodging establishment.
  • Full service truck stops (with shower facilities for fee).
  • Workplaces of any manufacturer, importer, wholesaler of tobacco products, including lighters, of any tobacco leaf dealer or processor and all tobacco storage facilities.
  • Separate enclosed rooms or designated smoking rooms in a residential adult care facility, community mental health care facility, drug and alcohol facility, or other residential health care facilities and day treatment programs.
  • Private clubs who have been in existence for 10 or more years, including volunteer ambulance, fire and rescue companies. A vote must be taken by the officers of the club.
  • Non-profit fundraisers, held by a non-profit or charitable organization in a place separate from other public areas, which does not permit anyone under 18, and food and beverage must be served. A one-event-per-year limit exists.
  • Tobacco Promotion Events where at least 75 percent of products displayed or distributed are tobacco or tobacco-related products. Limited to six days of promotional events a year.
  • Cigar bars: Types 1 and 2 (must provide supporting documentation).
    • Type 1: An establishment that serves liquor, is physically connected by a door, passageway or other opening and is directly adjacent to a tobacco shop.
    • Type 2: An establishment that serves liquor as well as tobacco products, including tobacco, accessories, cigar storage lockers or humidors. Total annual sale of tobacco products must be at least 15 percent of gross combined sales.
  • Bars: Types 1 and 2 (must provide supporting documentation).
    • Type 1: A bar that allows smoking throughout the entire establishment and does not permit anyone under the age
      of 18 in the establishment.
    • Type 2: A bar/restaurant that allows smoking in the bar area, which is separately ventilated and enclosed from the restaurant area, has a separate outside entrance, and does not allow smoking in the restaurant area. Individuals under the age of 18 are not permitted in the bar area of this establishment.
  • Casinos: 25 percent of the gaming floor or, if proof of a hardship within 90 days of implementation or of an opening date can be proven, then 50 percent of gaming can have smoking permitted. Wholesale or retail tobacco shops with tobacco sales comprising 50 percent or more of gross sales annually (must provide supporting documentation).
  • Outdoor sports, recreational facility, theater or performance establishment.

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Don’t state-of-the-art ventilation systems clean the air out of enclosed spaces?

Secondhand smoke has what scientists call a non-linear dose response. Therefore, while a ventilation or air filtration system (a.k.a. air purifiers or air cleaners) may be successful in reducing the level of visible smoke in the air, this reduction doesn’t eliminate hazardous toxins and gases found in secondhand smoke.

ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers is the international standard setting body that sets the standard for indoor air quality. This standard can then be adopted into state and local building codes. At its summer 2005 Conference, the ASHRAE Board of Directors unanimously adopted a position document on secondhand smoke, which states that ventilation cannot eliminate the health dangers posed by secondhand smoke and that smoking does not belong indoors.

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Won’t a comprehensive law hurt businesses in Pennsylvania?

An Economic Impact Study released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health in 2011 concluded that the CIAA had no negative economic impact on full/limited service restaurants or drinking establishments. In fact, hundreds of peer reviewed studies across the country have shown that smoke free laws do not have a negative economic impact on businesses.

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What is preemption and why does the coalition oppose this provision?

Preemption occurs when a state prevents local jurisdictions from enacting laws that differ from or are more stringent than state law.

The Pennsylvania Clean Indoor Air Act, which went into effect in 2008, includes a preemption clause that prohibits any local ordinances in the Commonwealth from passing a clean indoor air law that is more restrictive than the Pennsylvania Clean Indoor Air Act. However, Philadelphia’s preexisting clean indoor air law was allowed to stand when the 2008 CIAA was passed. Philadelphia is designated as a first class city (the only in the state) which are not subject to state preemption. Breathe Free Pennsylvania, ACS CAN, AHA, ALA and other national organizations believe strongly that localities should have the freedom to enact a stronger smoke-free law, especially in the absence of a comprehensive state law, further protecting the health of their community from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

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Where can I learn more about clean indoor air laws and Breathe Free Pennsylvania?

You can learn more at our website: www.breathefreepa.org

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