Browner Promotes Smoking Policies

Article excerpt

EPA Administrator Carol Browner "recommended" that every company establish a smoking policy to protect non-smokers from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke.

At a July hearing before the House Subcommittee on Health and the Environment, the administrator released a pamphlet which includes a series of recommendations for controlling exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS).

For the workplace, EPA recommends:

* Every company should work with management and labor organizations to establish a smoking policy.

* Smoker and nonsmokers should not "simply" be separated within the same area. While this may reduce exposure, it still presents a risk to nonsmokers because the air is recirculated.

* Prohibiting smoking indoors or limiting it to specially designated rooms are two options that effectively protect non-smokers.

* If smoking is permitted in a special room, it should meet several conditions: air should be directly exhausted to the outside; the ventilation system should provide the room with 60 cubic ft per minute of air supply per smoker; it should be located in a nonwork area where no one, as part of his or her job, is required to enter.

* Employers should provide cessation programs for smokers who wish to quit.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D, Calif.) predicted EPA's "recommendations will have a dramatic impact." The administrator's announcement should prompt state and local initiatives to curb smoking, he told a packed hearing room. Waxman also announced that he would be introducing legislation to ban or restrict smoking in all public buildings. The legislation, unnumbered at press time, would require specially ventilated rooms for smokers. …

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