The Washington, DC City Council has passed legislation that prohibits the sale of some flavored tobacco products. There is an exemption for hookah. ACS CAN Washington, DC Government Relations Director Jocelyn Collins reacts.
D.C. Councilmember Vincent Orange Announces Support of Smoke-Free Workplace Legislation
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- September 21, 2005 -- We are pleased that Councilmember Vincent Orange (D-Ward 5) agrees with us that District workers and residents deserve nothing less than a comprehensive smoke-free workplace law that protects everyone from the many risks of secondhand smoke. the District simply cannot compromise on public health. We thank Councilmember Orange for taking a stand on this important issue. We also thank his colleagues, for their continued leadership on smoke-free workplaces, and for underscoring once again that smoke-free workplace legislation is first and foremost, a public health issue.
The D.C. Council should act immediately to pass a comprehensive smoke-free law that covers all workplaces, including restaurants and bars, at all times; protects the health of all workers and patrons; and does not include loopholes such as ineffective ventilation systems. This is the only way to protect everyone from the dangers of secondhand smoke, which contains 4,000 toxins and more than 60 carcinogens, and is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease and other serious diseases. It is also the fairest and most easily implemented approach for business, providing a level playing field for all.
Our organizations strongly support the “Smoke-Free Workplaces Act of 2005” and “The OSHA Amendment Act of 2005” pending before the Public Works Committee, and the “Department of Health Functions Amendment Act of 2005” pending before the Health Committee. Polls show strong public support for comprehensive smoke-free legislation that covers restaurants and bars, with 74 percent of D.C. voters expressing support. Mayor Anthony Williams and nine D.C. Councilmembers also have expressed support for comprehensive smoke-free legislation. In light of the clear health need and the strong public and legislative support for smoke-free legislation, the D.C. Council should heed the wishes of its constituents and take action on this issue. We thank Councilmember Brown and our other legislative champions on D.C. Council for their support, and look forward to Councilmember Catania’s hearing on a comprehensive smoke-free workplaces law in the fall.
Now, more than ever, it’s time for D.C. to join the growing number of states, cities and even entire countries that have taken action to protect everyone’s right to breathe smoke-free air. No Washingtonian should have to choose between a good job and good health.
ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan sister advocacy organization of the American Cancer Society. ACS CAN is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major public health problem through voter education and issue campaigns aimed at influencing candidates and lawmakers to support laws and policies that will help people fight cancer. ACS CAN does not endorse candidates and is not a political action committee (PAC). For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is building a healthier future for our children by changing public attitudes and public policies regarding tobacco use. The Campaign strives to prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke. For more information, visit the Campaign's web site at www.tobaccofreekids.org.
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Phone: (202) 296-5469
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