MODEL POLICY FOR SMOKE-FREE SENIOR CENTERS

This policy is intended to be a model for state legislation to create smoke-free Senior Centers. To that end, this policy provides for smoke-free environments both indoors and outdoors at Senior Centers. This policy can also be easily adapted for use as a state regulation or as a policy for an individual Senior Center facility.

Sec. 1000. Title

This law shall be known as the Smoke-Free Senior Center Act.

Sec. 1001. Authority [This section would, in most states, not be needed in state legislation. However, this section is included herein for use by state agencies if this policy is adopted as a state regulation, under existing authority of the state agency.]

This regulation is hereby adopted by the [insert State Office on Aging or other entity] pursuant to the authority conferred upon the [insert State Office on Aging or other entity] by the [insert appropriate state law citation].

Sec. 1002. Jurisdiction and Administration

This law shall have effect throughout the state of [insert name of state]. The [insert State Office on Aging or other entity] shall have responsibility for administering and enforcing this policy, including all amendments hereafter adopted unless otherwise specifically stated.

Sec. 1003. Findings and Purpose

The [insert name of State legislature] hereby finds that:

The U.S. Surgeon General, National Research Council, and National Academy of Sciences report that environmental tobacco smoke causes lung cancer and poses an increased risk of heart disease in adult nonsmokers. These agencies, as well as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), have also found that separating smokers and nonsmokers within the same air space may reduce, but does not eliminate, a nonsmoker’s exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Further, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finds that environmental tobacco smoke is a Group A Carcinogen – a category reserved for known cancer-causing agents in humans.

Of the over 416,000 smoking-related deaths annually in the U.S., over 94% are to persons aged 50 and over, while over 70% are to persons aged 65 and over. All the major causes of death among the elderly (cancer, heart disease, and stroke) are associated with smoking or environmental tobacco smoke. Recent research also indicates that smoking is related to a number of health problems and diseases that are generally associated with aging, including hearing loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.

Accordingly, the [insert name of State legislature] finds and declares that the purposes of this policy are 1) to protect the public health and welfare by prohibiting smoking in the enclosed areas that make up Senior Centers and prohibiting smoking on all outdoor grounds of Senior Centers; and 2) to guarantee the right of nonsmokers to breathe smoke-free air, and to recognize that the need to breathe smoke-free air shall have priority over the desire to smoke.

Sec. 1004. Definitions

Sec. 1005. Operation and Maintenance of Smoke-Free Senior Centers

Sec. 1006. Posting of Signs

Sec. 1007. Enforcement

The [insert State Office on Aging or other entity] shall be responsible for enforcing this law.

Sec. 1008. Nonretaliation

The employer shall not discharge, refuse to hire, or in any manner retaliate against any employee, applicant for employment, or person served because such employee, applicant, or customer exercises any right to a smoke-free environment afforded by this law.

Sec. 1009. Other Applicable Laws

This law shall not be interpreted or construed to permit smoking where it is otherwise restricted by other applicable laws.

Sec. 1010. Severability

If any provision, clause, sentence, or paragraph of this law or the application thereof to any person or circumstances shall be held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the other provisions of this law which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this law are declared to be severable.

Sec. 1011. Effective Date

This law shall be effective sixty (60) days from and after the date of its adoption.


Model prepared in March, 2003 by The Center for Social Gerontology, Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan. http://www.tcsg.org