Smoking in the Workplace

Published 04 Jan 2017

Since1998, the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Heath Administration (OSHA) had been studying the effects of Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) through their scientific workshops. ETS or much commonly known as second hand smoke or passive smoke is a known human carcinogen according to the American Heart Association. Carcinogen is the collective term to all substance that is scientifically proven to cause cancer.

Each state had been reevaluating their laws concerning the safety of their citizens primarily their working force that is most exposed to this kind of smoke. New York, the last state that had reexamined their state laws regarding this matter, had followed the revisions made by our state Los Angeles, and the state Delaware to include the bars and restaurants in the smoking ban. The state had weighted more the health issue in spite of some people’s opposition.

Some people concerned were arguing that the state was intruding the people’s right to choose. The owners of some bars and restaurants were among of them. They were saying that with the states declaration, their business would be affected considering the fact that their usual costumers stay in their establishments while smoking. Furthermore, their employees had at first place know that their establishment permits smoking within their workplace. The owners then are sure that no one in his employees would complain with regards to the workplace’s air condition. This claim had been considered in the OSHA’s first rules with regards to these workplaces. But with the state laws intervention, this considered loophole had been closed to its smoking citizens (Umansky 1997).

Bars and Restaurants lawyers proposed a truce with this amendment by offering that their clients would build a separately ventilated area in their establishment so that their employees would not be affected with their costumers smoke. Casino owners were also requesting for an exemption with the said state law on the ground the same as to the bars and restaurant owners.

Last 2003, Nation’s Restaurant News gave the stand of Peter Christie, president and chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. “We don’t support passage, but we don’t oppose it,” the article had quoted from him. This neutral stance of Christie suggest that they were not opposing the move of the state to protect their citizens with second hand smoke, but the state should also must consider the effect of banning cigarettes to their business. Another restaurant owner expressing his sentiments, Dennis Gallagher of the Cellar Bar in Larchmont, N.Y and The Willett House in Port Chester, N.Y, said “I think it’s a bad law.” He thinks that his costumers would switch to the other restaurants in other states that don’t have this kind of law.

Does the state wrong with the inclusion of bars and restaurants in the ban? But the owners were pided on what would be their stand regarding this matter. Some owners that do not include cigarettes in their product list support the law in order that they can strictly implement the “No Smoking” sign they posted in their establishment premises. They encounter persons that were not obeying their rules even if they had already seen their no smoking sign.

With the law, they would now be brave enough to say to the costumers that their establishments are a no smoking area. Their employees then would be spared of this dangerous second hand smoke. Some restaurant owners have no stance against or in promotion of the state law. As long as they where abiding with the law and as long as they had their customers, and then why not implement it? This is their counterpart stance. Therefore, the state then had finally decided. They had included the bars and restaurants in the smoking ban.

In the long run, people would be accustomed with the smoking ban. Rick Sampson, resident and chief executive of the New York State Restaurant Association, said “This is a good bill, and we can live with it.” Brad Rosentein, treasurer of NYSRA and the current owner of the 90 year old Jack’s Oyster Sauce in Albany, N.Y., said that there might be costumers that would boycott restaurants and bars in the beginning, but people would later understand that this is also for the benefit of them. The state had swiftly made their decisions believed to be because of restaurant associations like NYSRA that had supported the passage of the bill.

This workplace issue should be resolved immediately caused the health of many is in concern with this matter. The waiters, the bartenders, the entertainers who do not have a choice on where would they work are the one who first suffer. There were a number of these employees that do not smoke and though they don’t complain, this does not imply that they permit themselves to inhale second hand smoke.

Governor Pataki is right with his decision. This is for the welfare of his constituents. May the state of New York, Los Angeles and Delaware be an example to other states? We don’t know, maybe in the passing of years, all of the states would consider the three states action as a good precedent. Some people also wish that maybe a national action is necessary so that this would be a nationwide move that would serve then as a good example for other countries.

As the government warning included in every packs of cigarettes, “Cigarrete Smokingis Dangerous to your health.” Maybe, the state laws are not yet enough. The people’s initiative to stop smoking should be the best move on how we could live better in all part of our community not just only in our workplace.


  • Environmental Tobacco Smoke (2007). American Heart Association. Retrieved Oct 31, 2007
  • Fact Sheet for Workers in Secondary Response and Other Supporting Roles at the World Trade Center (2001). Retrieved Oct 31, 2007
  • Fact Sheet: Secondhand Smoke (2006). Retrieved Oct 31, 2007
  • Paul Frumkin. (2003). New York state outlaws smoking in all enclosed workplaces: as in Calif., Del., law snuffs habit in restaurants, bars, hotels. Nation’s Restaurant News
  • Eric Umansky. (1997). The tobacco deal would pinch OSHA’s power to protect workers from secondhand smoke. MotherJones.
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