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Cannabis law has tough indoor air-quality rules

The new law signed by Gov. Ned Lamont that legalizes and regulates adult-use cannabis, will also have a positive effect on indoor air quality, according to officials from the Connecticut Department of Public Health. The law features the first major changes to the Clean Indoor Air Act since 2004.

“This new law addresses changes to indoor smoking and vaping which will benefit the health of our residents,” said Acting DPH Commissioner Dr. Deidre S. Gifford. "Reducing the places where smoking and vaping are allowed sends an important message about just how dangerous these exposures are to your health. Exposing non-smokers to secondhand smoke and aerosol puts them at risk as well.”

The revisions to the law, that take effect on Oct. 1, 2021 include:

• Incorporating language for cannabis, hemp and tobacco into the definitions for smoking and vaping.

• All workplaces must now be smoke and vape free. The exception that allowed for smoking rooms at larger employers is removed as well.

• Extending the smoke-free definition to incorporate the outside area within 25-feet of any doorway, operable window, or air intake vent of the facility, building or establishment.

• Smoking and vaping are not allowed in any room offered as accommodation to guests by the operator of a hotel, motel, or similar lodging or in any area of a correctional facility or halfway house.

• Smoking and vaping are not allowed in state parks and beaches.

• Landlords cannot exclude those who use cannabis, hemp, or tobacco as renters but they can make their properties, inside and/or outside, smoke and vape free.

Secondhand smoke comes from burning tobacco, hemp, and cannabis products such as cigarettes, cigars and pipes and is also the smoke that has been exhaled by the person smoking. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and at least 70 that are known to cause cancer.

The United States Surgeon General has determined there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Even brief exposure can be harmful to the health of non-smokers. Electronic nicotine delivery systems produce an aerosol when someone is vaping that can contain harmful chemicals including carcinogens, which travel much the same way as secondhand smoke.

Cannabis creates harmful secondhand smoke that contains higher levels of toxic compounds than tobacco smoke, including ammonia and hydrogen cyanide. Non-smokers who breathe secondhand smoke are exposed to many of the same toxins and carcinogens as smokers.

Some of the health effects of secondhand smoke include more frequent and severe asthma attacks and respiratory infections among children, heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer in adults as well as increased risk of heart attack. 

Information on new indoor quality standards was provided by the state Department of Public Health.

 

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