Later this week smokers at restaurants and workplaces in Pennsylvania will have to step outside. The state is implementing a smoking ban in public places — and the public health community says it will have a significant impact on people’s lives. From WHYY’s health and science desk Kerry Grens reports.
Pennsylvania’s law will be similar to Philadelphia’s two-year-old ban — which affects restaurants and workplaces, but exempts bars, casinos and private clubs. Jennifer Ibrahim, a public health professor at Temple University, says studies show people will benefit from a reduced exposure to second hand smoke.
Ibrahim: People who are regularly exposed to second hand smoke will start to feel better, they’ll be able to breath easier. Cardiovascular health, in terms of the way the heart’s functioning as a result of decreased exposure to second hand smoke, those are some of the things we’ll see immediately.
Ibrahim says there will also be longterm benefits from reduced smoking. While no smoking ban has been in place long enough to measure the impact on cancer, it would likely decrease the incidences of esophageal, pancreatic, kidney and bladder cancers in the state — which are among the highest in the country for men.
Ibrahim: And these are all as a result of smoking. So it’s specifically being related with tobacco use, not just general cancer, so those are some major areas that we would hope to see changed as the clean indoor ban goes into effect.
Most states have some form of smoking ban in place.