American Heart Association Advocacy: An Expansion of Pennsylvania’s Smoke-Free Workplace Laws

Lake J. Seymour

Seymour, Lake J.¹
Faculty / Advisor: Gluch, Joan¹
Advisor/Community Preceptor: Cary, Brad², Bonner, Alex³
1University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, Department of Preventive and Restorative Sciences, Division of Community Oral Health
2American Heart Association, Pennsylvania Government Relations
3Breathe Free Pennsylvania, Advocacy


The American Heart Association’s mission includes reducing the morbidity, mortality, and health impacts of heart disease and stroke in the United States. The American Heart Association works with the Breathe Free Pennsylvania Coalition, which serves to protect Pennsylvania workers from secondhand smoke exposure by ensuring all workplaces go one-hundred percent smoke-free.

Project Overview

Pennsylvania implemented the Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA) or House Bill 2298 in 2008. This act serves to eliminate smoking in workplaces across the state, however, this act excludes private clubs, casinos, bars and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW’s) from requirements for mandatory smoke-free spaces. Student researchers worked alongside the American Heart Association to encourage Pennsylvania VFW’s and casinos to go smoke-free. Researchers also worked with Pennsylvania legislators to expand smoke-free workplace laws to include those spaces otherwise exempt.


Meetings with various legislators led to verbal commitment of support to advocate for VFW’s across the state of Pennsylvania to go smoke-free. In addition, student research aided in the creation of virtual lobby weeks, which address the need for increased cigarette tax laws to cut overall health-care costs for Pennsylvania hospitals. This project served to spread awareness of the health impacts of secondhand smoke in workplaces as well as to encourage casino workers and patrons to advocate for their rights to clean indoor air.