Smoking bans are public policies, including criminal laws and occupational safety and health regulations, which prohibit tobacco smoking in workplacesand/or other public spaces. Legislation may also define smoking as more generally being the carrying or possessing of any lit tobacco product.
The rationale for smoke-free laws is based on the fact that smoking is optional and breathing is not. Therefore, smoking bans exist to protect breathing people from the effects of second-hand smoke, which include an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, emphysema, and other diseases. Laws implementing bans on indoor smoking have been introduced by many countries in various forms over the years, with some legislators citing scientific evidence that shows tobacco smoking is harmful to the smokers themselves and to those inhaling second-hand smoke.
In addition, such laws may lower health care costs in the short term (but may actually increase them in the long term, since smokers who die sooner no longer use health care), improve work productivity, and lower the overall cost of labor in a community, thus making a community more attractive for employers. In Indiana, the state's economic development agency wrote into its 2006 plan for acceleration of economic growth an encouragement to cities and towns to adopt local smoke-free workplace laws as a means of promoting job growth in communities.
Additional rationales for smoking restrictions include reduced risk of fire in areas with explosive hazards; cleanliness in places where food, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, or precision instruments and machinery are produced; decreased legal liability; potentially reduced energy use via decreased ventilation needs; reduced quantities of litter; healthier environments; and giving smokers incentive to quit.
The World Health Organization considers smoke-free laws to have an influence to reduce demand for...