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Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department
Environmental Public Health

Smoke-Free Indoor Air


Environmental Tobacco Smoke No Smoking

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), also called secondhand smoke, is the combination of smoke given off by the burning end of a tobacco product and the smoke exhaled by the smoker. People around the smoker inhale this secondhand smoke in a process that is referred to as "involuntary smoking" or "passive smoking". Involuntary smoking is just as harmful as direct smoking, and there is NO safe level of ETS exposure.

Secondhand smoke contains thousands of chemicals, 250 of which are known to be toxic. According to the Surgeon General, eleven compounds in tobacco smoke (2-naphthylamine, 4-aminobiphenyl, benzene, vinyl chloride, ethylene oxide, arsenic, beryllium, nickel compounds, chromium, cadmium and polonium-210) have been identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as Group 1 (known human carcinogen) carcinogens. Some of the other deadly chemicals found in secondhand smoke are as follows:

Dangers of Environmental Tobacco Smoke

When a woman smokes, or inhales secondhand smoke, during pregnancy her body passes the harmful chemicals along to her unborn baby. A pregnant woman who is exposed to direct or passive smoke runs a higher risk of giving birth prematurely or of having a baby who is not fully developed. Exposing a newborn infant to secondhand smoke can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Young children (below the age of 2) exposed to secondhand smoke are at higher risk for the following:

Any child can suffer harmful effects from ETS. No matter their age, children who are forced to become involuntary smokers are more likely to:

A 2006 report from the U.S. Surgeon General indicates that 60% of U.S. children ages 3-11 (about 22 million children) are exposed to secondhand smoke. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, about 90% of non-smoking adults are exposed to secondhand smoke. Every year, secondhand smoke kills an estimated 51,500 adult nonsmokers from lung cancer and heart disease.

Adult non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work have a 25-30% increase in the risk for heart disease, and also have a 20-30% increase in the risk for lung cancer. Individuals who already suffer from heart disease are at exceptionally high risk for complications resulting from ETS inhalation.

If you currently smoke, the best decision you can make for your health and the health of your family is to quit smoking. There are many aids and support services available to people who choose to protect the health of their family members by quitting. If you choose not to quit smoking, you can protect your family by smoking outside of your home and vehicles. Do not smoke in any confined or enclosed area, even if windows are open and there seems to be sufficient airflow, as smoke that accumulates on your clothes and in your hair can be transferred back into your home. Request that others do not smoke near your family. Do not take your children to a day-care provider who smokes.

LMC Chapter 8.50 - Lincoln Smoking Regulation Act

The Lincoln Smoking Regulation Act (also known as the Lincoln 'smoking ban') was approved by referendum vote on November 2, 2004. This law prohibits smoking any cigarettes, cigars, and/or pipes in public places and places of employment...with limited exemptions granted for guestrooms and suites, as well as scientific and analytical laboratories. In accordance with Lincoln Municipal Code 8.50.280, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department is authorized to inspect public places and places of employment in order to determine compliance with this ordinance.

The Lincoln Smoking Regulation Act remains as an effective ordinance, however, in accordance with Nebraska Revised Statute 53-1,120.01, no county resolution or city ordinance that prohibits smoking in indoor areas shall apply to cigar bars. As such, cigar bars are exempted from compliance with the Lincoln Smoking Regulation Act, provided they meet the definition of a cigar bar found in Neb. Rev. Stat. 53-103, paragraph (42).

The Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act (NCIAA), described in further detail below, includes an exemption for 'tobacco retail outlets'. Under the NCIAA, establishments meeting the definition of a 'tobacco retail outlet' (set forth in 178 NAC 7-002) may allow smoking indoors. However, the Lincoln Smoking Regulation Act allows for no such exemptions. As such, tobacco retail outlets located within the City of Lincoln may NOT allow smoking inside their establishment.

Click here to open LMC 8.50 - Lincoln Smoking Regulation Act

Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act (NCIAA)

The Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act was revised by the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature in 2008, and those revisions became effective on June 1, 2009. The purpose of the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act is to protect the public health and welfare by prohibiting smoking in public places and places of employment. In accordance with Neb. Rev. Stat. 71-5734, the Nebraska Dept. of Health and Human Services developed rules and regulations to implement the NCIAA. Those rules are set forth in Title 178, Chapter 7 of the Nebraska Administrative Code (178 NAC 7).

The NCIAA prohibits smoking in indoor areas. In accordance with 178 NAC 7, Section 7-002, an indoor area "means an area enclosed by a floor, a ceiling, and walls on all sides that are continuous and solid except for closeable entry and exit doors and windows and in which less than 20% of the total wall area is permanently open to the outdoors. For walls in excess of eight feet in height, only the first eight feet shall be used in determining such percentage." Smoking is allowed in areas that do not meet the definition of an indoor area.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department provides guidance for proprietors seeking to provide a compliant outdoor smoking area at their establishment. The LLCHD also conducts inspections to ensure that all smoking areas are in compliance with the NCIAA, and when necessary, coordinates enforcement of the NCIAA with the Lancaster County Sheriff's office, as well as the Lancaster County Attorney's office.

Click here to read Neb. Rev. Stat. Sections 71-5716 through 71-5734

Click here to read Title 178 Nebraska Administrative Code Chapter 7


Keep your environment healthy...don't smoke and don't expose others to secondhand smoke.

Your health and the health of your family is in your hands.

No Smoking

For more information call: (402) 441-8040


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