Smokefree food establishments in Jefferson County, AL

State: AL Type: Model Practice Year: 2007

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The goal of Smokefree food establishments in Jefferson County, AL is to limit the number of non-smokers exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke while dining out in Jefferson County, AL.

Objective 1: To encourage all food establishments to be smoke free. Action: Any food establishment in Jefferson County, AL that allows smoking is deducted four points from their inspection score for allowing hazards/toxic indoor air pollutants.

Objective 2: To warn the public of the dangers of secondhand tobacco smoke prior to entering a food establishment if the food establishment permits smoking. Action: Any food establishment in Jefferson County, AL that allows smoking must post a warning notice on all entry doors warning that tobacco smoke is present and the dangers of inhaling secondhand tobacco smoke.

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Jefferson County Department of Health/Alabama Public Health Area 4
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Smokefree food establishments in Jefferson County, AL
The goal of Smokefree food establishments in Jefferson County, AL is to limit the number of non-smokers exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke while dining out in Jefferson County, AL. Objective 1: To encourage all food establishments to be smoke free. Action: Any food establishment in Jefferson County, AL that allows smoking is deducted four points from their inspection score for allowing hazards/toxic indoor air pollutants. Objective 2: To warn the public of the dangers of secondhand tobacco smoke prior to entering a food establishment if the food establishment permits smoking. Action: Any food establishment in Jefferson County, AL that allows smoking must post a warning notice on all entry doors warning that tobacco smoke is present and the dangers of inhaling secondhand tobacco smoke.
The public health issue is that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. Many municipalities in Jefferson County, AL have promulgated strong municipal codes against smoking in food establishments however other municipalities have weak or no prohibitive code. The actions of the board of health have caused more food establishments to go smoke free. And as a minimum at least warn the public of food establishments that allow smoking. The smoking status of each food establishment is on The Department of Health's web site and is accessible to the public. The Department is currently in the final stages of the MAPP process and the effects of smoking on non-smokers has been a big issue with our focus groups. The use of inspection scores has always been used to discourage unhealthy practices in food establishments. Utilizing the deduction of points in order to bring attention to the negative health effects of secondhand smoke is new as far as we are aware. Also the warning on cigarette packages of the effects of tobacco smoke was carried further in this application to be a warning notice on the doors of food establishments to warn the non-smoking public that there is no safe level of secondhand tobacco smoke exposure.
Tobacco
Agency Community RolesThe local health department initiated the regulations allowing for the posting of the warning notices as well as for the deduction of the four points. The local health department determines if smoking is allowed and the appropriate action to be taken. Partners are doing public education and bringing publicity from local news agencies to the issue of secondhand tobacco smoke. The partners continue to lobby the legislature for a statewide ban on smoking in food establishments. The local partners are also lobbying each city council to establish tough prohibitive city codes to smoking in food establishments.  Costs and ExpendituresStartup and implementation cost are minimum. Public advertisement and hearing: $1000 Legal review: $3500  Printing warning stickers: $600 Total: $5100   ImplementationThe first step was to present a resolution to the Board of Health asking them to accept the findings of the US Surgeon Generals report "The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke". In this report Dr. Carmona states that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. Also the resolution accepted the findings of the EPA that secondhand tobacco smoke is a Class A carcinogen. The resolution encouraged all food establishment owners/operators to go smoke free for the health of their clients and employees. If smoking is allowed then the department was authorized to post warning notices and deduct four points from the inspection score. Step two: Promulgate changes in the Food Code to designate secondhand tobacco smoke as an air toxic. To require the posting of warning notices and authorize the deduction of four points for any facility that allowed smoking. Step three: Advertise the changes for public comment. Step four: Hold a public hearing. Step five: Submit all comments to the board of health for their review. Step six: Receive approval from the board of health to implement new regulations. Step seven: Post warning notices on all food establishments that allow smoking. Step eight: Deduct four points from the inspection score of any food establishment that continues to allow smoking. The total length of time to implement all steps was approximately six months.  
The goal is to limit the number of non-smokers exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke while dining out in Jefferson County, AL. Objective 1: To encourage all food establishments to be smoke free.  Performance Measures: Any food establishment in Jefferson County, AL that allows smoking is deducted four points from their inspection score for allowing hazards/toxic air pollutants. Objective 2: To warn the public of the dangers of secondhand tobacco smoke prior to entering a food establishment if the food establishment permits smoking  Performance Measures: Any food establishment in Jefferson County, AL that allows smoking must post a warning notice on all entry doors warning that tobacco smoke is present and the dangers of inhaling secondhand tobacco smoke.
Stakeholders like the Tobacco Free Alabama Coalition, the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, Congregations for Public Health, and others are deeply committed to the issue of eliminating exposure of non-smokers to secondhand tobacco smoke. Since there is only low cost to the health department to continue to enforce these new regulations there is no problem with sustaining it indefinitely.
 
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