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Left Behind in the Smoke

How exemptions in California's Smokefree Workplace Act affect health inequities

Tobacco Prevention

Although widely perceived as a comprehensive smokefree air law, the California Smokefree Workplace Act still does not completely prohibit smoking in workplaces such as hotels, cabs of trucks, long-term health care facilities, and workplaces located outdoors.

As a result, 1 in 7 Californians face secondhand smoke exposure at work.  

ChangeLab Solutions developed Left Behind in the Smoke to examine how exemptions in the California Smokefree Workplace Act contribute to tobacco-related health inequities, particularly among low-income communities and communities of color. 

Within the guide, descriptions of each exemption are formatted as stand-alone fact sheets that can be used when working with specific community groups. We also developed a companion infographic that summarizes the exemptions to California’s Smokefree Workplace Act. 

ChangeLab Solutions collaborated on the legal epidemiological study behind our updated version of Left Behind in the Smoke. For details, please refer to Inequity in California’s Smokefree Workplace Laws: A Legal Epidemiologic Analysis of Loophole Closures. Our accompanying resource, available for download, provides maps and scorecards that show the progress of California cities and counties on closing the loopholes in smokefree workplace laws.

Examples of exemptions in California's California Smokefree Workplace Act