President Clinton Issues Executive Order to Protect
Federal Employees from Environmental Tobacco Smoke
August 9, 1997
President Clinton signed an executive order that will ban
smoking in all federal Executive Branch facilities, except in
limited circumstances. Today's action is an important step to
protect the health of federal employees, and the members of the
public who visit or use federal facilities, from the health risks
of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS).
Making Federal Facilities Smoke-Free
Federal agencies' smoking policies vary, and many must be
strengthened to fully protect federal workers and visitors from ETS
exposure. Over 15 federal agencies ban smoking indoors. But many
agencies still allow smoking in areas where non-smokers and visitors
may be exposed to ETS. The President's Executive Order:
Prohibits smoking in interior space owned, rented, or leased
by the Executive Branch of the federal government, such as office
space and National Park Service visitors' centers, except in
Allows agencies to have indoor designated smoking areas that are
enclosed and exhausted directly to the outside. Agency heads may
not require workers to enter such areas during business hours while
smoking is occurring.
Prohibits smoking in front of building air intake ducts in outside
areas under the federal government's control.
Directs agency heads to evaluate the need to limit smoking at
doorways and in courtyards.
Requires heads of Executive Branch agencies to implement the order
within one year, and encourages agencies to offer smoking cessation
assistance to their workforce.
Implementing Strong, Science-Based Measures
Strong scientific evidence documents that exposure to ETS is a
serious health risk:
ETS is a known cause of lung cancer in healthy non-smokers,
and is associated with increases in death rates from cardiovascular
disease in non-smokers.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that ETS
is responsible for about 3,000 lung cancer deaths each year in
Environmental tobacco smoke also threatens the health of hundreds
of thousands of children with asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
In 1986, the Surgeon General found that simple separation of
smokers and nonsmokers within the same airspace may reduce but
does not eliminate ETS exposure to nonsmokers.
Building on the President's Record
In August 1996, President Clinton announced a comprehensive
Food and Drug Administration rule to protect children from tobacco.
The regulation seeks to reduce children's tobacco use by 50% over
seven years by restricting children's access to cigarettes and
smokeless tobacco and by reducing the products' appeal.
Two provisions of the rule are already in effect:
Retailers are prohibited from selling cigarettes and smokeless
tobacco products to anyone under age 18;
Retailers must verify age by photo ID for anyone under the age
of 27 purchasing these products.