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The passage of Guam’s smoke-free restaurants law (see Tobacco Control2006;15:78–9) has served as a tipping point for tobacco-free policies in both the public and private sectors. Since the passage of the law, the Guam Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, the University of Guam and the Guam Community College all enacted 100% tobacco-free policies, banning all smoking and chewing of tobacco products, both indoors and outside, on their premises. In the private sector, two health insurance companies, Netcare and TakeCare, also adopted similar policies. The latest to join the trend is Guam Memorial Hospital, which is going 100% tobacco-free in October.
Health advocates have noted how the law seemed to push these organisations over a certain threshold, from reluctance to acceptance of a tobacco-free corporate norm. In addition, Guam’s restaurants, now 100% smoke-free indoors, are enjoying a robust traffic in customers. Not a single one has reported business losses from the smoke-free policy. Instead, a number report a surge in business since they went smoke-free.
As anticipated when Guam’s law was passed last December, the ripples are already spreading across this part of the Pacific. One of Guam’s Micronesian neighbours, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, has recently sent to its legislature a bill prohibiting tobacco use in all enclosed public spaces.