ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Smoking Bans Force Some Bars and Restaurants to Go Smoke Free

Ventilation Standards Aid Air Quality in Smoking and Non-Smoking Establishments

New York, Feb 20, 2003

On March 30, 2003, a new ordinance in New York City will go into effect, prohibiting smoking in virtually all bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The ban is an extension of a movement in many states and municipalities to protect the health and improve the environment of bar and restaurant workers. As myriad interests push for anti-smoking legislation throughout the country, areas without stringent restrictions on smoking rely on standards that serve to manage the air quality of smoking and non-smoking areas alike.

According to the California Department of Health Services, more than half of Americans say they regularly avoid bars and nightclubs because secondhand smoke is so bothersome. Only California and Delaware currently have statewide smoking bans, but Dallas bars and restaurants will become smoke-free on March 1, followed by New York and then Boston in May.

While some Manhattan bar and club owners are seeking out ways to avoid the new law, some are exploring the scarce exceptions the ban allows. One of the few legal exemptions allows for establishments with ventilated smoking chambers. These chambers can be used only until March 2006 and carry with them a hefty expense ($15,000 and up). However, many owners are willing to foot the bill to retain their smoking customers.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), an ANSI-accredited standards developer, has a role to play as states and municipalities across the nation pursue anti-smoking legislation. ASHRAE recently published an addendum to a ventilation standard that provides guidance on odor control in smoking spaces. The addendum applies the document’s ventilation requirements only to non-smoking spaces, and provides new design guidance for controlling odor in indoor spaces where smoking occurs.

ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62-2001, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality, sets minimum ventilation rates and other requirements for commercial and institutional buildings. Addendum 62o deletes smoking lounges from a set of outdoor air requirements for ventilation. In the same table, the requirements in spaces where smoking is assumed to occur have been lowered, and a footnote is added explaining that the table applies to no smoking areas. In addition, the addendum addresses ventilation in smoking areas by requiring these areas to have more ventilation and air cleaning than comparable non-smoking areas.

ANSI Nanotechnology Standards Panel