Smokeless at last ...
Eighty one years after the first detailed statistical study showing that heavy smokers were more likely to develop lung cancer, the state has decided that people shouldn't have to be exposed to cigarette smoke when they go to work or out for a meal.
Effective Monday, Nebraska is officially 100 percent smoke free, requiring all indoor work spaces and public places to become smoke-free.
"This law is great for the public health of all Nebraskans," said Dr. Joann Schaefer, Nebraska's Chief Medical Officer. "There is mounting evidence that communities and states become healthier once smoke-free laws go into effect. I believe that starting June 1, Nebraskans will enter a new era of better health and wellness."
The Nebraska Smoke-Free Air Law, officially the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act, is supported by 80 percent of all Nebraskans, smokers and non-smokers alike, and 86 percent agree and restaurants and bars will be healthier for employees and customers once the law goes into effect.
There are a few exceptions. For instance, hotels can still reserve up to 20 percent of rooms for smokers, tobacco-only retailers -- and that does not include stores that sell alcohol, coffee, soft drinks, candy groceries or gasoline -- facilities that study the health effects of smoking, private residences that aren't used for licensed child care and, effective September 2009, cigar bars.
We've certainly come a long way from the days when cigarettes were provided to soldiers as part of their rations and advertisers touted the positive health effects of tobacco.
And that routine question, "Smoking or non-smoking?" will be relegated to the ashtray of history.