Too many Americans are falling through gaps in
protections from secondhand smoke

ANR Foundation's Report, "Bridging the Gap: Status of Smokefree Air in the United States,” documents current smokefree protections and disparities in secondhand smoke exposure in America

It is time to bridge the gap

We have an obligation to protect people from the effects of deadly tobacco products like cigarettes and cigars, including the harms of breathing secondhand smoke. There is no safe level of exposure to the smoke produced by burning tobacco, but because many jurisdictions fail to regulate it effectively, secondhand smoke remains one of the leading causes of preventable disease and death in the US. Effective models for creating a smokefree community exist, and places that have adopted them have seen both economic and health benefits. It is time to achieve equity in smokefree protections for all, regardless of their geographic region, race/ethnicity, occupation, or economic status.

ANR Foundation is committed to closing gaps in smokefree protections, applying a health equity lens to the disparities in exposure, and to ensuring that affected groups are engaged in the policy making process. It takes people power to overcome the interference of Big Tobacco and its allies and to redesign systems that force some people to live, work, or play in toxic environments.

This report aims to:

• Increase awareness of the ongoing problem of secondhand smoke exposure.


• Highlight the drastic gaps in smokefree protections and the physical and fiscal health consequences that follow.


• Encourage public health and social justice advocates and professionals to prioritize smokefree policy development to protect and improve the health and safety of all workers and patrons.

• Offer strategic advice to increase civic engagement as well as build public support to close smokefree gaps and improve community health.

Where People Live is a factor of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Twelve states are featured in this report: Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.

Nine of the states have local authority to adopt smokefree laws, and three (Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee) preempt local lawmaking regarding smokefree air. 

Preemption occurs when a law passed by a higher level of government takes precedence over a law passed by a lower one. Preemption is a key tobacco industry tactic that removes a community's right to enact local smokefree air laws.

Explore the twelve featured states

The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation is dedicated to improving community health and increasing health equity by ensuring that everyone is protected by a 100% smokefree law. We provide training, technical assistance, and tobacco policy surveillance data for civic engagement to improve community health.