Montgomery County Smoking Ban Has Positive Impact on Businesses

June 28, 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- June 28, 2004 -- The American Cancer Society welcomes Montgomery County Councilmember Phil Andrews’ announcement that sales tax receipts in the county increased 7.2 percent or nearly $2 million since enactment of its smoking ban last fall. Councilmember Andrews’ data compares tax receipts from October 2003 through March 2004 to those from the same timeframe in the previous year.

“Everyone has the right to breathe clean air and we are delighted to see the positive effects the smoking ban has had not only on the health of citizens in the county but also on its businesses,” said Karlynn BrintzenhofeSzoc, member of the board of directors, American Cancer Society South Atlantic Division. “The effect of smoking bans on cities and states is often misperceived as harmful to businesses. But study after study in smoke-free cities and states shows smoking bans have no negative impact. Today’s study is yet another reason why other cities and states, including neighboring Washington, D.C., should vote for comprehensive smoke-free laws too.”

Comprehensive smoke-free workplace policies reduce tobacco related illnesses and the costs of treating them. Secondhand smoke causes an estimated 3,000 lung cancer deaths and 35,000 heart disease deaths annually among adult nonsmokers in the United States. And smoke knows no bounds, as even limited exposure is harmful. Smoke-free workplaces not only protect nonsmokers, but also encourage smokers to quit or cut back. Currently more than 1,700 municipalities across the country have enacted smoke-free workplace laws. Each year in Maryland smoking kills 6,800 adults including at least 690 nonsmokers.

Tobacco use costs the U.S. economy $82 billion a year in lost productivity. Smoking related illnesses cost the state of Maryland $1.53 billion annually. Smoke-free policies decrease absenteeism among non-smoking employees, reduce housekeeping and maintenance costs, lower insurance rates and result in fewer smoking-related fires.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is the nonprofit, nonpartisan sister issue 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.

Kat Porter
Phone: (202) 585-3202
Email: [email protected]

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