Compliance high in first year of Smokefree Air Act - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Compliance high in first year of Smokefree Air Act

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - Compliance with Iowa's Smokefree Air Act is high among businesses during the law's first year. According to preliminary numbers from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), only about 1 percent of Iowa's more than 82,000 businesses subject to the Act have received a Notice of Potential Violation from IDPH since the law went into effect July 1, 2008. Notices are generated following a valid complaint from the public or inspector visit.

"As Governor, I am committed to protecting the health of all Iowans," said Governor Culver. "The high level of compliance with the Smokefree Air Act means that we as a state are well on our way to achieving that goal. In addition, it demonstrates that the vast majority of employers in Iowa are abiding by this law, helping us create a brighter, healthier future for our state."

Since July 1 last year, Notices of Potential Violation have been sent to 1,015 businesses with employees. Preliminary numbers indicate the top four business types for which a first Notice of Potential Violation has been issued are: bars and restaurants (53 percent); retail stores and service-based businesses (20 percent); private and member clubs (3 percent); government (3 percent); hotels and motels (2 percent). The remaining 19 percent of employers who have received a violation notice represent a wide variety of Iowa businesses. Final numbers of these and other indicators of compliance will be released in mid-July.

"I am happy to say that our enforcement efforts have been very effective during this first year of the Iowa Smokefree Air Act," said IDPH Director Tom Newton. "The Notice of Potential Violation is primarily a tool for educating employers about what they need to do to come into compliance with the law. Of businesses who receive a first notice, 79 percent do not receive a second notice."

Prior to the Iowa Smokefree Air Act, non-smokers who were exposed to secondhand smoke at work increased their risk of heart disease by 25 to 30 percent, while their risk of developing lung cancer was 20 to 30 percent higher. The law protects employees in more than 99 percent of Iowa's businesses, making it one of the most comprehensive in the nation. For more information about the law or to report a violation, visit www.iowasmokefreeair.gov.

Online Producer: Jason Mortvedt

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