ANCHORAGE, Alaska—July 17, 2018—Governor Bill Walker signed the statewide smoke-free workplace bill into law today at the Lucky Wishbone, reportedly the first restaurant in Alaska to go completely smoke-free. Senate Bill 63, commonly called the "Take it Outside Act," protects Alaskans working indoors from secondhand smoke and includes marijuana and electronic cigarettes. The new law takes effect on October 1.
SB 63 was sponsored by Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna) and championed by thousands of businesses, individuals and organizations across the state, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).
Emily Nenon, Alaska government relations director for ACS CAN, released the following statement:
"No one should have to choose between their health and paycheck. Now for the first time, Alaskans across the state will be protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke, including e-cigarette aerosol, on the job. Strong smoke-free laws are the only proven way to protect workers and patrons from secondhand smoke, while also helping people who smoke quit and keeping youth from starting altogether.
"Only half of Alaska's residents are currently covered by local smoke-free ordinances. Many boroughs including Kenai Peninsula, Fairbanks North Star and Mat-Su do not have the local authority to enact these policies, and thousands of other Alaskans live in areas with no local government at all. This new law is the only way to ensure our entire state is protected from secondhand smoke. Everyone has the right to breathe smoke-free air."
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure, which contains at least 70 chemicals known to cause cancer. Each year, secondhand smoke kills nearly 42,000 non-smoking Americans.
ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.