Strong smoke-free law coverage in the United States by race/ethnicity: 2000-2009

Am J Public Health. 2013 May;103(5):e62-6. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.301045. Epub 2013 Mar 14.


Objectives: We determined whether racial/ethnic disparities existed in coverage by type of 100% smoke-free private workplace, restaurant, and bar laws from 2000 to 2009.

Methods: We combined US census population data and the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation US Tobacco Control Database to calculate the percentage of individuals in counties covered by each type of law by race/ethnicity from 2000 to 2009.

Results: More of the US Hispanic and Asian populations were covered by 100% smoke-free restaurant and bar laws than non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black populations. Asian coverage by smoke-free bars laws increased from 36% to 75%, and Hispanic coverage increased from 31% to 62%, compared with 6% to 41% for non-Hispanic Blacks and 8% to 49% for non-Hispanic Whites.

Conclusions: Hispanics and Asians benefited more from the rapid spread of smoke-free law coverage, whereas non-Hispanic Blacks benefited less. These ethnic disparities suggest a likely effect of geographic region and may provide a basis for more effective, community-based, and tailored policy-related interventions, particularly regarding areas with high concentrations of non-Hispanic Blacks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Censuses
  • Environmental Exposure / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Environmental Exposure / prevention & control
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Local Government
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Restaurants / standards*
  • State Government
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / prevention & control
  • United States
  • Workplace / legislation & jurisprudence*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution