COLUMBIA, S.C. — The City of Aiken has joined other certified, smoke-free locations in South Carolina by earning a Smoke-Free Palmetto State Certification, an honor awarded to deserving municipalities identified by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). The state health agency is honored to recognize these places as more of them choose to provide smoke-free protection to their residents. Clean air – free from secondhand smoke and aerosol produced by e-cigarettes/vapes – remains the standard to protect the health of communities everywhere. More than half of all South Carolinians live in places that don’t guarantee clean, indoor air free from secondhand smoke.
Smoke-Free Palmetto State Certifications are awarded to cities, towns and counties that have adopted a comprehensive smokefree law that covers indoor workplaces, restaurants, and bars. To date, there are 57 cities and towns and eight counties in South Carolina certified as smoke-free. Comprehensive smoke-free/vaping aerosol-free work environments are an important strategy to protect public health. The certification confirms that the smoke-free policy adopted in the City of Aiken includes both combustible commercial tobacco products, as well as electronic devices like e-cigarettes/vapes.
"This recognition of distinction positions the City of Aiken as a healthy destination that protects everyone,” said Buck Wilson, DHEC’s Midlands Health Director. “It ensures that generations to come will have a thriving community built on the foundation of health and wellness, and DHEC is happy to add Aiken to the growing list of communities that have made this life-saving decision.”
Secondhand smoke is a known human carcinogen that causes cancer in non-smokers. Secondhand smoke exposure at the workplace, specifically, increases the risk of both lung cancer and heart disease among non-smoking employees by 20 to 30 percent. While the long-term health effect of vaping needs further study, science shows that e-cigarettes, vapes, and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) devices produce an aerosol that can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including ultra-fine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs of both the user and bystanders. Policies certified through Smoke-Free Palmetto State must prohibit the use of both combustible products like cigarettes and cigars, as well as e-cigarettes/vapes, in all indoor businesses.
Going smoke-free allows local economies to grow in ways that benefit businesses and that create healthy environments. Research shows that customers want to dine and do business in smoke-free places. Many employees also favor smoke-free policies where they work so they don’t have to choose between their job and their health.
For more information on Smoke-Free Palmetto State Certifications, reach out to a local DHEC public health department.
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