Policy Option: Federal Law
Trying to pass effective clean indoor air laws at the federal level is often counter-productive. The tobacco lobby spends millions of dollars each year to influence Congress and the White House. Bills introduced into Congress open the door to preemption (i.e. taking away local and state power to legislate). By supporting bills with preemption language, Congressional representatives can appear “anti-tobacco” to their constituents while continuing to please the tobacco industry.
The airline smoking ban, brought about through grassroots organizing, is one example of a positive federal law. It eliminates smoking on all flights in the continental United States, plus all overseas domestic flights of six (6) hours or less, covering virtually all domestic commercial flights in the nation.
Since this law went into effect in 1990, many airlines have voluntarily eliminated smoking on international flights.
The Pro-Children Act prohibits smoking in indoor facilities which provide services primarily to children and receive any federal funds (e.g. kindergarten, elementary and secondary education, libraries serving children, day care, early childhood development services, health care services). The law contains an explicit anti-preemption clause protecting the right of lower governments to pass clean indoor air legislation.