PA Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA)

Smoke-free, Tobacco-Free, Nicotine-Free!  KNOW THE DIFFERENCE!                                  

It’s a sign of the times.  New laws and policies regarding various types of tobacco use both indoors and outdoors are being created, strengthened  and implemented by communities, public and private properties, and businesses on a regular basis these days.   When it comes to protecting our good health, this is a good thing!   However, the messaging can be confusing.

Typically, there are three levels of restriction.  They are smoke-free, tobacco-free and nicotine-free.  It is important to know and understand the difference to ensure compliance with the various regulations.  Smoke-free is defined as an environment in which no people are smoking, or in which smoking is not permitted.  The said environment does not emit or contain smoke.

A Tobacco-free environment means tobacco use of any kind, including all lit forms of tobacco and smokeless tobacco, is prohibited.    Tobacco-free policy does not usually include “smoking huts” or designated areas as those measures are not consistent with the commitment.    A tobacco-free policy creates an environment that offers fresh, clean air to breathe and is free of tobacco product litter.

Although not common place yet, some businesses and health care organizations are starting to require employees to be nicotine-free.  What does that mean and furthermore is it legal?  It is documented that health risks and healthcare costs associated with nicotine have caused interest in creating healthier and more productive employees as well as reduce the costs of healthcare benefits.  Screening for nicotine use is legal in Pennsylvania.  Users of nicotine are not in a legally protected class.   A simple urine test is used to detect the presence of nicotine.  This includes all lit tobacco and smokeless tobacco products as well as any forms of NRT (nicotine replacement therapy).  There are levels built in to the lab results that would account for exposure to secondhand smoke.  With that in mind, any positive result would indicate nicotine use.

With their growing popularity, E-cigarettes, including their function and use, have slowly begun to be added to the above mentioned policies.

These restrictions encourage, promote and support wellness!  In addition, they protect us from exposure to second-hand smoke, for which there is no safe level of exposure.