Secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure causes lung cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases in non-smoking adults and children. To combat the issue, there are increasingly strict regulations on public smoking and smoking laws that prohibit smoking in all indoor areas of a venue are fully implemented in most of the European, North American and Australian continents.

For example in the US, the number of states (including DC) with smoking laws that prohibit smoking in indoor areas of work sites, restaurants, and bars increased from zero in 2000 to 26 in 2010. However, regional disparities remain in policy adoption, with no southern state having adopted a smoke-free law that prohibits smoking in all three venues.

Generally, smoking laws that can completely prohibit smoking in private-sector workplaces, restaurants and bars are considered comprehensive. These three venues are selected because they are a major source of SHS exposure for non-smoking employees and the public. On the other hand, some states have adopted a more realistic approach by enacting smoking laws with less stringent restrictions. These include the provisions of restricting smoking to designated areas or to separately ventilated areas.

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