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.
Local and State Lawmakers Must Continue Lifesaving Progress and Pass More Comprehensive Smoke-Free Laws
WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 21, 2011 – “Tremendous progress has been made during the past decade to protect workers and patrons from the hazardous effects of secondhand smoke. However, more than half of the states still have work to do to pass comprehensive smoke-free laws and ensure that no one is unnecessarily exposed to dangerous carcinogens known to cause disease and death.
“Cancer patients, survivors and their families across the country strongly support the goal to make all 50 states covered by comprehensive smoke-free laws by 2020, and we are committed to working with state lawmakers to reach that goal.
“Elected officials at the state and local level are recognizing the health and economic benefits of comprehensive smoke-free laws. ACS CAN challenges state and local officials to continue to pass comprehensive smoke-free laws in all workplaces, restaurants, bars, and gaming facilities, as well as to overturn existing and prevent future laws that preempt stronger local restrictions in order to protect the health of our citizens. It is also critical that states protect the strong laws that are currently in place and not roll back any of the lifesaving progress already made.
“Everyone has the right to breathe smoke-free air and no one should have to choose between their health and a good job. ACS CAN is working community by community and state by state until every worker in America is protected from secondhand smoke under a comprehensive smoke-free law.”
There are currently 35 states, in addition to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, that now require 100 percent smoke-free workplaces and/or restaurants and/or bars. Additionally, more than 3,000 municipalities have varying local laws in effect that restrict where smoking is permitted. Combined, this represents nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population.
Secondhand smoke is a major health hazard, proven to cause lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema. With 4,000 substances and more than 50 carcinogens – including arsenic and polonium – secondhand smoke causes cancer and heart and lung disease and kills nearly 50,000 nonsmoking Americans each year, including 3,400 deaths from lung cancer. The use of tobacco products remains the nation’s number one cause of preventable death, killing approximately 443,000 Americans and costing $96 billion in direct health care costs each year.