Smoke-Free New Jersey and Smoke-Free Philly

An RWJF National Program

Field of Work: Implementing smoke-free indoor air laws in New Jersey and Philadelphia.

Problem Synopsis: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that secondhand smoke kills 62,000 nonsmokers each year in the United States. Exposure to secondhand smoke also can cause respiratory illness and coughing. People can be exposed to secondhand smoke at home; in the workplace; and in bars, restaurants and recreational venues, according to the 2006 report The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General.

Synopsis of the Work: Smoke-Free New Jersey and Smoke-Free Philly conducted communications campaigns targeting businesses, the media, public health stakeholders and the public to ensure successful implementation of smoke-free indoor air laws in New Jersey and Philadelphia. The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services evaluated compliance in the state, the economic impact of the law on bars and restaurants and its effects on efforts by smokers to quit.

Key Results

  • Smoke-Free New Jersey

    • The advent of the Smoke-Free Indoor Air Act in New Jersey dominated news coverage in the state from April through June 2006, according to the Institute of Medicine and Public Health of New Jersey. These stories, which appeared in newspapers and on wire services, radio stations and television stations, cited local business support for the act.
    • Some 70 percent of New Jersey residents supported the Smoke-Free Air Act shortly after it took effect, according to an April 2006 survey released by the institute.
  • Smoke-Free Philly

    • Philadelphia saw 99 percent compliance with the Clean Indoor Air Worker Protection Law, owing to an educated public and business owners.

Key Findings From the Evaluation of Smoke-Free New Jersey:
In Impact of the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act: A Pre- and Post-Enactment Review, released in June 2008, the Department of Health and Senior Services reported:

  • Local health inspectors reported that the vast majority of New Jersey establishments complied with the law in 2007, the first year it took effect.
  • Employment data for hospitality venues such as restaurants and bars (a proxy for numbers of customers served) suggest that the law had little economic impact on those businesses in 2007.
  • The state's telephone stop-smoking Quitline received 2,244 calls in 2006, compared with 935 in 2005. Average monthly call volume rose from 78 in 2005 to 187 in 2006.