WASHINGTON, June 16, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Many Americans view smoking, and secondhand smoke, as a problem that has mostly been solved, at least in the United States.
However, only half of all Americans are protected from exposure to secondhand smoke, whether in public places or at work.
Several countries around the world have achieved complete protection for their citizens. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, ASH has written case studies on two of these success stories: France and Uruguay. Now we add a third, Switzerland, which presents a more mixed result in a federal system similar to the U.S.
ASH's case studies are meant to help illustrate how these countries addressed the problem of secondhand smoke and to help provide guidance to countries that are still working toward complete protection for their citizens.
Switzerland has been working toward smoke-free public places for many years. Because of the federal system in the country, local laws were passed long before the national law. Smoke-free legislation in Switzerland has been subjected to several legal challenges by tobacco companies. Due to the slow legislative process at the cantonal level, weak national legislation, and opposition from the tobacco industry, Switzerland as a whole has a substantial amount of work left to do. However, many cantons (a jurisdiction similar to a U.S. state) have made great strides towards protecting their citizens from the harms of secondhand smoke.
Here are some the lessons learned from the fight for smoke-free air in Switzerland:
Use the democratic system to your advantage
In Switzerland, as in many other countries, localities have the right to pass their own laws. By passing local smoke-free air laws, individual cantons drove the national government to create a federal law on the topic.
Once there is a model in a jurisdiction, target new jurisdictions that view themselves as similar
In a country with multiple jurisdictions, each jurisdiction views itself as more kindred with some neighbors than others. In the U.S., Nebraska is more likely to look to Kansas than to New York. In Switzerland, all of the French speaking cantons passed smoke-free air laws, based on a model from Geneva, another French-speaking canton.
To read more about smoke-free air in Switzerland, read the full case study here>.
To read more about tobacco control best practices around the world and how they can be implemented in the United States, please see ASH's FCTC Implementation Guide>.
ACTION ON SMOKING AND HEALTH
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is the nation's oldest anti-tobacco organization dedicated to health for all. ASH was formed in 1967 in response to the U.S. Surgeon General Report in order to use legal action to fight tobacco and protect nonsmokers. Today, because tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, ASH uses global tools to counter the global tobacco epidemic. Learn more about our programs at www.ash.org.
Contact: Megan Arendt
SOURCE Action on Smoking and Health