Percentage of Texans Protected by Smoke-Free Ordinances Applicable to Workplaces, Restaurants, and Bars
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Texas Tobacco News
Texas Smoke-Free Ordinance Database
Studies continue to demonstrate exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) is causally linked to cancer and other serious health consequences among children and adults. Placing restrictions on smoking in public places is a key strategy to limit the public’s exposure to SHS.
As part of the research team brought together to plan and evaluate the Texas Tobacco Prevention Initiative, the University of Houston has developed the Texas Smoke-Free Ordinance Database. In addition to providing a collection of ordinances from municipalities across the state, researchers at the University of Houston have analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of ordinances included in the database.
This is accomplished by defining five key aspects of collected ordinances, then providing a descriptive scoring system for evaluation purposes.
Key aspects described and/or evaluated include:
- settings where smoking is restricted
- level of restrictiveness for focal settings
- level of exemption of bar coverage based on percentage of gross annual sales of alcoholic beverages
- setting details
- provisions for enforcement and sanctions
The interactive Texas Smoke-Free Ordinance Database website allows users to download text of local ordinances (PDF files) and/or view corresponding summary profiles evaluating the ordinance for each municipality. Users can generate customized reports which compare ordinances at the state, public health region and county level. These reports can be further customized by the user specification of population size range and percentage of minority population coverage of interest.
As more Texas communities engage in passing smoke-free ordinances or strengthening those in existence, the database will track these changes and provide communities with the information they need to accomplish their tobacco prevention goals.
Evaluation reports by researchers at the University of Houston addressing development and use of the database can be viewed on the University of Houston web site at http://www.uh.edu/hnets/Tobacco.html