ALASKA — The Smokefree Alaska law went into effect Monday, October 1, the culmination of decades of efforts to ensure workplaces and public places across the state are free from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. The Alaska Legislature passed Senate Bill 63 last session and Governor Walker signed it into law this summer. More than 1,000 Alaska businesses offered resolutions in support of SB 63 on its way to passage.
Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at work are more likely to develop heart disease or lung cancer. The Smokefree Alaska Law protects employees and the public from the dangerous health effects associated with secondhand smoke. Smokefree workplace laws have been proven to reduce the incidence of heart attacks and improve pulmonary function, encourage quitting and preventing kids from starting.
“Smokefree workplace laws aren’t about smokers, they’re about the smoke,” said Tammi Meissner, SEARHC Health Educator. “Smokefree workplace laws simply require that smokers smoke in a way that doesn’t harm others, by taking it outside.”
Alaskans understand the dangers of secondhand smoke and wanted this law. Even a majority of smokers in Alaska support smokefree workplaces; 80 percent of adults are non-smokers, and 70 percent of smokers want to quit. Smokefree laws make it easier to quit.
As of October 1, at least 300,000 Alaskans who could not be protected by local smokefree laws are now covered. Roughly half of Alaskans were already protected from secondhand smoke at work by local comprehensive smokefree laws. The remaining unprotected large population centers were in second-class boroughs with home-rule cities who didn’t have health powers to pass a local smokefreelaw. More than 70,000 Alaskans live in the “Unorganized Borough,” which is under the jurisdiction of the Alaska Legislature.
Here is what businesses need to do:
- Post the required no smoking or vaping signs in plain view at all entrances of their business, which can be found on and ordered from smokefree.alaska.gov.
- Remove all ashtrays and other smoking receptacles.
- Kindly ask individuals smoking or vaping on the premises indoors to stop, and to step outside.