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Lawmaker Wants Smoking Sections Gone from Federal Buildings

Photo: Wayne Ruston

Federal employees who smoke may have to find someplace else, other than their workplace, to smoke if one lawmaker’s idea gets traction on Capitol Hill.

Last week, Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.) introduced the Smoke-Free Federal Buildings Act (H.R. 3382), which would ban smoking inside and 25-feet around all federally-owned buildings or those being leased by the federal government.

The proposed legislation would also eliminate designated smoking sections.

“Exposure to secondhand smoke is a serious health issue that drives up health care costs for all of us,” Davis said in a statement.  “Federal workers should be able to work in a healthy, smoke-free environment.”

According to a report from Government Executive, Davis’ press secretary introduced the bill after President Obama declined to issue an executive order in 2009. President Clinton issued an order in 1997 that banned smoking in federal buildings, but permitted designated smoking areas.

In a 2008 directive, the General Services Administration ended designated smoking areas and set up a 25-foot boundary at buildings under its jurisdiction.

As reported by Government Executive, an American Lung Association official said the policy only applies to 30 percent of buildings where federal employees work. Davis’ bill would extend the smoking ban to all buildings, including those that are not under GSA’s jurisdiction.

The bill was referred to the House Transportation Committee with no committee action currently scheduled.

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