Smoke-free laws are picking up steam across the nation. Half of all states now prohibit smoking in bars and restaurants and on the job, and the entire nation could have comprehensive smoke-free bans by 2020, according to the CDC.
But some states are slow to protect their citizens against passive smoking. Keep clicking as Bronson Frick of Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights details the situation in nine states where weak smoke-free laws and low cigarette taxes mean smokers get the red carpet treatment - and nonsmokers get the cold shoulder.
Smokers can light up just about anywhere in Alabama, including nearly 95 percent of the bars in the state. The state imposes the fourth-lowest cigarette tax, at 42.5 cents a pack.
Arkansas' motto is "Regnant Populus" - the people rule. But it seems the rules are set up to favor smokers. The statewide smoke-free law is among the nation's weakest, and only 0.1 percent of the state's population lives in a city with a law requiring bars and other indoor workplaces and public places to be smoke-free. The tax on cigarettes is 60 cents.
At 37 cents, Georgia's tax on cigarettes is one of the nation's lowest. And the state's smoke-free laws are among the weakest in the country. Some cities, including Savannah, have joined the national trend for smoke-free indoor air, but only 1.4 percent of the state's population lives in one of those cites. But more smoke-free laws seem to be on the way, with one being passed recently in Macon.
Indiana has one of the weakest statewide smoke-free laws in the country. State lawmakers recently blocked a smoke-free bill, and are considering eliminating the state's tobacco prevention program. The cigarette tax is $1.
Smokers really get the red carpet treatment in Nevada, and especially in Las Vegas. The state's weak smoke-free law exempts the very workplaces where passing smoking is such a big threat - bars and casinos. No wonder antismoking advocates have adopted the slogan "What happens in Las Vegas stays in your lungs." The state tax on cigarettes is 80 cents a pack.
There's no statewide smoke-free workplace law in Oklahoma, and cities and towns in the state are not allowed to pass their own smoke-free workplace laws. The tax on cigarettes is $1.03 a pack.
Tennessee's weak smoke-free law exempts many workplaces, and cities are not allowed to pass their own smoke-free laws. The tax on cigarettes is 63 cents.
With big tobacco a powerful presence in the state, Virginia doesn't allow its cities and towns to pass local smoke-free laws. And the state allows indoor smoking in a variety of workplaces and public places. The cigarette tax is 30 cents a pack.
Wyoming's state motto is "Equal rights," but smokers' rights in the state might seem to be a bit "more equal" than nonsmokers'. There is no statewide smoke-free law against smoking in the workplace, and few local smoke-free laws on the books. The tax on a pack of cigarettes is 60 cents.