A jazz chanteuse croons through a haze of smoke. For generations, immortalized in Edward Hopper paintings and Humphrey Bogart movies, inseparable from the sounds of Miles Davis and Sarah Vaughn, smoking was synonymous with nightlife glamor and romance. But for California musicians like Bill Arnold and tavern owners like Carol Brookman, smoking is also synonymous with red eyes, scratchy throats, and racing hearts. When the last phase of the California law banning smoke in workplaces went into effect, Arnold and Brookman were finally free of the smoking culture that threatened to smother them in secondhand smoke. Until the workplace smoking ban, working in a smoky haze was a way of life. Besides worrying over the effect those eight-hour shifts behind a smoky bar were having on her health, she feared another consequence of allowing smoking: fire. I used to go home at night and lie awake thinking about the garbage. I started sleeping so much better when the smoking ban started. Arnold, the drummer and lead vocalist in a band based in Chico, quit smoking more than nine years ago. Like many former smokers, he has realized over time how sensitive his re-pinked lungs are to secondhand smoke. My voice was always sore and raspy. California has led one of the most aggressive antismoking campaigns, one that includes numerous media ads. Before the phase covering nightclubs and bars took effect, Arnold was afraid to complain to club bookers. For a band to make a complaint or ask the owner to not allow smoking would be economic suicide. Without the law on our side, we were out of luck. According to the California Department of Public Health, inhaling secondhand smoke ranks behind smoking and alcohol abuse as the third most preventable cause of death. Since the ban, Brookman and Arnold have seen dramatic improvements in their health. Brookman no longer suffers from chronic flu-like symptoms. And in the first year after her bar went smoke-free, none of her staff called in sick. Arnold had considered giving up music rather than continue trying to sing in smoky venues, but after the ban his voice improved and his heart stopped racing. A team led by Dr. Mark Eisner, an assistant professor of pulmonary medicine, looked at the lung health of 53 bartenders before and after the smoking ban. The study was designed to measure the effect the law might have on workplace health. Researchers surveyed the bartenders about incidences of respiratory irritations; they also measured their lung function and capacity. Lung function also improved after just two months. Interestingly, about half the bartenders in the study smoked. But even the smokers saw an improvement in their health when they were no longer subjected to inhaling secondhand smoke during long shifts. Although most studies have looked at the effect of secondhand smoke in the home, researchers around the country are increasingly studying the influence of smoking bans on workplace health. For instance, in a study of 25 Massachusetts work sites, Dr. Katherine Hammond found much greater concentrations of nicotine in the air in workplaces that allowed smoking on the job than in those that banned it. In fact, many California cities have also passed laws prohibiting smoking in areas such as entryways, playgrounds, multi-unit housing facilities, college campuses, and in cars with children. Dozens of California beaches also ban cigarettes. But the state now has a lot of company: 39 U. More than municipalities have percent smoking bans in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. Initially, Glantz had opposed the law, fearing there would be problems with compliance. In fact, cooperation can be spotty.
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