The harmful effects of secondhand smoke and emissions from tobacco, marijuana, and electronic smoking devices continue to be an issue in Colorado. Since 1992, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified secondhand tobacco smoke as a known cause of cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that secondhand smoke has immediate harmful effects on the heart and blood vessels that lead to heart disease, and causes respiratory issues in children. According to the National Institutes of Health, secondhand smoke from marijuana contains the same chemicals found in tobacco smoke that negatively affect the vascular system. In 2016, a U.S. Surgeon General report concluded that the vapor released from electronic smoking devices contains nicotine and other chemicals, and secondhand inhalation may cause harm to the lungs or produce an allergic reaction.
In an effort to reduce the risk of smoke-related health problems in Colorado, the General Assembly passed the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act (act) in 2006, which prohibits smoking in indoor areas throughout the state. The act was amended in 2013 and 2019 to prohibit marijuana smoking and the use of electronic smoking devices respectively. This issue brief discusses the definition of smoking under the act and lists the facilities affected by the smoking ban, as well as those that are specifically exempted from it. It also describes the penalties for noncompliance with the act and includes information on smoking bans in other states.