NHPR's Rewind: N.H.'s Indoor Clean Air Act

Aug 25, 2016

If you look far enough back into American media, you’ll find no shortage of smoke filled offices, but as time went by, public opinion (in part due to scientific discoveries about the true hazards of smoke and second-hand smoke) shifted, and amidst the furor the popularity of cigarettes died down. In 1990, 73% of New Hampshire residents did not smoke, yet a bill that would call for more regulation regarding smoking in the workplace was still met with opposition.

In March of 1990, NHPR reporter Kathy McLaughlan spoke with Portsmouth resident and State Senator Elaine Krasker, and New Hampshire Commerce and Industry Association member Yvonne Nanasi about House Bill 379. The bill was designed to tighten regulations, requiring smoke free workplaces, though it allowed for exceptions if 25% of the employees petitioned the company to implement a designated smoking area. Nanasi, who opposed the bill, cited its literature as being too vague, while Krasker (who sponsored the bill) retaliated with the fact that the language had been in place (within a law regulating smoke in public buildings) for the past 10 years, and had garnered no substantial complaints.

Here’s the full discussion between the two, mediated by Kathy McLaughlan:

Designated and “effectively segregated” smoking areas are now the norm in the granite state, with no workplaces allowing employees to smoke outside of these areas. Furthermore, with the passing of laws such as the 2007 regulation calling for all bars and restaurants to be 100% smoke free, New Hampshire has become further divested of the images of old. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that non-smokers make up about 83% of the state’s population.