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In 2006, the U.S. Surgeon General declared that no amount of exposure to secondhand smoke is safe. In June, 2006 the coastal community of Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina enacted the state’s first comprehensive smoke-free law. Sullivan's Island made the decision to act immediately to protect the health of its workers. They also made the decision to protect their tourism industry. As more communities across the country are making the commitment to smoke-free living, tourists from outside the state increasingly expect a smoke-free vacation.
In the six years since, towns, cities and counties across the state have adopted similar smoke-free ordinances. Today, 51 communities have enacted comprehensive laws. As a result, over 30% of the state’s citizens are protected from breathing deadly secondhand smoke at work. Link here to see a map and list of the municipalities and counties that have passed smoke-free ordinances since 2006.. (The link is under the "New and Noteworthy" section on the upper right hand corner of the page.) Link here to see how South Carolina smoke-free workplace protection compares to other states in the U.S.
The years since 2006 have brought other protections from secondhand smoke. An increasing number of S.C. school districts, colleges, universities, and recreational businesses have enacted smoke-free policies regardless of whether their community has chosen to protect its citizens with a municipal ordinance. Business owners who did so fearing that they would lose business to the smoking-allowed establishments, have learned that customers seek them out because the are smoke-free. Their business has increased.
Despite these gains, however, a significant percentage of South Carolina's students, teachers, and those in blue collar and service jobs – such as craft workers, laborers and hospitality workers – remain disproportionately exposed to secondhand smoke in the workplace. Tobacco Free Carolina works to grow these communities' awareness of the dangers of secondhand smoke and to support efforts to protect citizen's health. We support the work of our partners and coalitions to educate leaders in education, business and municipal management about the impact of smoking and secondhand smoke on worker health, productivity, business revenue, and community healthcare costs.
The Hospitality / Music Connection
Hospitality workers and Musicians breathe more secondhand smoke on the job than employees in any other occupational group. (Link here for more information on the special interests of restaurant and bar employees.)
That’s why the South Carolina Tobacco-Free Collaborative, the Christopher Conner Foundation and the Musicians and Songwriters Guild of South Carolina have joined together to generate awareness about the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke, an often overlooked public health hazard that performers confront every day. These three organizations have come together to create several awareness building messages specific to the issue of hospitality workers and musicians who are exposed to smoking in the workplace:
"Her Life" A song and music video by Lucas War Hero that illuminates the life of a waitperson working in a smoking-allowed environment. Link here.
“Rock ‘N a Hard Place: Musicians for a Smoke-Free South Carolina.” A 2008 calendar , which featured South Carolina musicians who support smoke-free workplaces.