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New Law Legalizing Adult Use of Cannabis will Help Clear the Air of Secondhand Smoke and Aerosol


CONTACT:       Chris Boyle, Director of Communications

                        (860) 706-9654 –





HARTFORD, Conn.—A new law signed by Governor Ned Lamont Tuesday afternoon, which 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 Deidre S. Gifford, MD, MPH. “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:

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


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

  • Extending the 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.


Dr Gifford reminds residents that 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,” she said.


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 which can contain harmful chemicals including carcinogens which travel much the same way as secondhand smoke.


Marijuana 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, including among nonsmokers.


Some of the other dangers of secondhand smoke include:

Health effects in children

  • More frequent and severe asthma attacks
  • Respiratory infections, including bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Ear Infections
  • Greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome


Health effects in adults

  • Heart disease, stroke and lung cancer
  • Increased risk of heart attack, especially in people with preexisting heart disease
  • Death from heart disease and lung cancer—more than 41,000 adult nonsmokers die in the US each year from these diseases caused by secondhand tobacco smoke exposure


Other facts

  • Most Connecticut residents do not smoke, vape or use tobacco, however many are exposed to secondhand smoke or aerosol at work, school and in other public places
  • Almost half (48 percent) of non-smoking Connecticut middle and high school students report breathing in secondhand smoke on at least one day during the past week, including 36 percent in public places, 30 percent at work, and 17 percent at school
  • 30 percent of non-smoking adults in Connecticut report being exposed to secondhand smoke in public places
  • Youth are less likely to start using in a smoke-free environment; the less often youth see tobacco use the less likely they are to use it



Almost half (48 percent) of non-smoking Connecticut middle and high school students reported breathing in secondhand smoke on at least one day during the past week during our last youth tobacco survey as well as 30% of nonsmoking adults.  Reducing the places where public smoking and vaping is allowed helps to reduce these exposures to secondhand smoke and aerosol, reducing the likelihood that youth will start smoking and vaping; the less likely they are to see tobacco use, the less likely they are to try it


Smoke free policies also help those who are trying to quit.  Anyone who would like assistance with quitting may call the statewide quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit  Young adults may text “DITCHVAPE” to 88709 for assistance.