Ban All Smoking in Federal Workplaces (Rep. Susan Davis)

An estimated 53,000 Americans die from exposure to secondhand smoke, according to the California Environmental Protection Agency. A study by the U.S. Surgeon General found secondhand smoke still has health impacts even when it is limited to designated areas.

In 1997, President Clinton issued an Executive Order prohibiting smoking in most federal workplaces. Clinton’s Order, however, contained exceptions for designated smoking areas within a building.

President Clinton’s Order was a great first step. But it’s time to take the next step and eliminate all smoking in federal buildings. In this effort, a number of my colleagues and I have urged President Obama to issue another Executive Order to ban all smoking in federal buildings as a way to protect the federal workforce and visitors to federal facilities from secondhand smoke.

Despite setting aside certain areas for smoking, we know that people still get exposed to secondhand smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke is a serious health issue that drives up health care costs for all of us. Furthermore, federal workers should be able to work in a healthy, smoke-free environment.

I hope President Obama will take a serious look at closing the loophole in the smoking ban in federal workplaces.

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