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The rationale for smoke-free laws is to protect people from the effects of second-hand smoke, which include an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, emphysema, and other diseases. Laws implementing bans on indoor smoking have been introduced by many countries in various forms over the years.

The state smoking regulations vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Most states and the District of Columbia have model legislation that bans smoking in public places such as bars, restaurants, places of employment, schools and child-care centers. Even in states that do not have wide-ranging indoor-smoking bans, virtually all of them ban smoking in schools, daycare and healthcare facilities, although some states permit smoking in designated areas