Ten years ago, Colorado legislators passed the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act (CCIAA), a statewide law designed to protect the public from involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke. The law makes most public indoor spaces, including most workplaces, restaurants, bars and casinos, smoke-free. It also extends the smoke-free area out to 15 feet from the entryway of a smoke-free establishment.
Comprehensive smoke-free laws reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, help smokers quit, and improve health outcomes. Smoke-free laws enjoy high levels of public support and compliance. Research shows no adverse economic impact on restaurants and bars following implementation of smoke-free laws.
Colorado children born after July 1, 2006, when the CCIA went into effect, form our state’s first smoke-free generation. They grew up with the norm of smoke-free daycare and schools. They’ve always dined in smoke-free restaurants and visited smoke-free indoor malls. In some cities and towns around Colorado, where the city council has adopted laws stricter than state law, they can even play in smoke-free parks and watch sports events in smoke-free stadiums.
In recognition of ten years of smoke-free air, children from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver joined a 10th anniversary celebration on the steps of the State Capitol on June 16. Festivities included remarks by Governor John Hickenlooper and participation by representatives of local, statewide and national smoke-free advocacy and public health organizations.
“Coloradans today breathe cleaner, safer air because of the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act,” said Governor Hickenlooper. “Our workers no longer have to choose between their health and a paycheck. Families don’t have to worry about their kids breathing dangerous secondhand smoke when they go out to eat. And millions of Coloradans no longer have to risk their health when they gather in public.”
Advocates attending the celebration recommitted to tobacco prevention and control efforts to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, enforce smoke-free laws, discourage tobacco use, address health disparities, and prevent tobacco-related illness and death among Coloradans. Renewed efforts to expand smoke-free protections are needed as tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Colorado, with more than 5,100 Coloradans dying each year from smoking (https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/facts_issues/toll_us/colorado).