Iowa Becomes 29th State to Enact Smoke-Free Legislation

April 15, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- April 15, 2008 -- Iowa Governor Chet Culver today signed the Smokefree Air Act (HF 2212), comprehensive legislation that will eliminate smoking in non-hospitality workplaces, bars and restaurants throughout the state. The statewide law will take effect July 1, 2008.  

“We commend Iowa for becoming the 29th state in the nation to enact smoke-free legislation,” said Daniel E. Smith, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “Smoke-free laws benefit everyone; workers can make a living without risking their health; patrons and tourists can enjoy a night out without the hazards of secondhand smoke; and bar and restaurant owners don’t lose business, have fewer employees fall ill from working in a smoky environment and save on cleaning their establishments. Everyone wins.”

The passage of the Iowa Smokefree Air Act comes on the heels of other statewide smoke-free policies recently enacted in Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois and Maryland, all of which include workplaces, restaurants, bars and casinos. Iowa’s law exempts the gaming floors of casinos.

Kansas City, Mo, also went smoke-free last week when residents passed a smoke-free ballot April 9 that covers all indoor workplaces including restaurants and bars, with a temporary exemption for gaming floors of casinos. The ordinance will take effect June 30, 2008.

The smoke-free trend has accelerated in recent years. Until 2002, California and Utah were the only states with strong smoke-free laws. Then, in 2002, two states (Delaware and South Dakota) implemented smoke-free laws. Three states (Connecticut, Florida and New York) followed suit in 2003, as did three additional states in 2004 (Idaho, Maine and Massachusetts) and five states in 2005 (Montana, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington state). In 2006, six states (Colorado, Hawaii, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey and Ohio) joined the smoke-free club and 2007 saw four more states (Arizona, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico), plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C, go smoke-free. So far in 2008, two states have implemented smoke-free laws (Illinois and Maryland) and two states have passed laws (Nebraska and Iowa). Today, 27 states are smoke-free.

“Smoke-free laws and other tobacco control policies are crucial to reversing the trend that has made smoking the leading preventable cause of death in this country,” said John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., chief executive officer of ACS CAN, the sister advocacy organization of the American Cancer Society. “Secondhand smoke is a major health hazard, proven to cause lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema. With 4,000 chemicals and more than 60 carcinogens including arsenic and polonium secondhand smoke is responsible for an estimated 3,000 lung cancer deaths in nonsmoking adults each year.”

ACS CAN and Society Divisions nationwide are conducting aggressive grassroots campaigns to make passage of strong, comprehensive smoke-free laws a priority.

ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan sister advocacy organization of the American Cancer Society, which is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage lawmakers, candidates and government officials to support laws and policies that will make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer. For more information, visit

Nicole Bender
Phone: (202) 661-5773
Email: [email protected]

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