WASHINGTON, D.C. -- December 1, 2006 -- The District of Columbia’s smoke-free workplaces law takes full effect Jan. 2, 2007, when workplaces, restaurants and bars will be clear of toxic secondhand smoke and District workers and patrons will be granted the right to breathe smokefree air. Print advertisements touting the new law and reminding citizens of its benefits began running today in District restaurants, bars and Metrobuses.
The month-long ad campaign is part of the overall effort to educate District workers and patrons about the new law and the establishments it will protect. The first of the two ads, funded by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM (ACS CAN), shows a middle-aged gentleman whose cheeks are puffy and face appears to be blue. It reads, “Hold Your Breath. January is Coming.”The ad will appear in Metrobuses across the city. The second ad has a treeshaped air freshener labeled “New Bar Scent” with a “No Smoking” sign across it. The headline reads, “At Least the Bar Will Smell Better.”It will appear in the restrooms of dozens of restaurants and bars throughout D.C. The ads can be viewed at http://www.breathedc.org.
“We are thrilled Washington D.C. is about to join the ranks of the dozens of cities, states and countries across the globe who have put their citizens’ health first and enacted smoke-free laws,” said Daniel E. Smith, president of ACS CAN. “Just like the other world class smoke-free cities in the United States, D.C. will thrive under this new law as fewer workers and patrons are exposed to secondhand smoke and more residents and visitors enjoy a good meal or a night out in D.C. without a deadly side order of secondhand smoke.”
The smoke-free ads also promote a new telephone-based smoking cessation service, the D.C. Quitline®, for smokers in D.C. who want to kick the habit. By calling the free service at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, Quitline callers can double their chances of quitting for good. The Quitline service is funded by the American Cancer Society.
The D.C. Council overwhelmingly approved the smoke-free workplaces law Jan. 4 of this year. The first phase of the law went into effect in April, making workplaces and restaurant dining areas smoke-free. Beginning Jan. 2, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, pubs, clubs and taverns will become smoke-free. Outdoor dining areas, retail tobacco outlets, theatrical productions and medical treatment or research institutions where smoking is conducted for therapeutic purposes will be exempt from the law. Also exempt will be tobacco bars and other establishments that can prove 10 percent or more of their revenue comes from tobacco sales.
“January 2 will be a historic day for our Nation's Capital when the smoke-free law is fully implemented and we can celebrate the protection of everyone’s right to breathe clean air,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. “We are committed to working with the District’s leaders and the public health community to educate businesses, residents and visitors about the new smoke-free law and to ensure that the law is implemented as intended to protect everyone from the proven health harms of secondhand smoke.”
The nation’s capital becoming smoke-free underscores a national trend that has seen 16 states and hundreds of cities enact smoke-free laws. As recently as Nov. 7, voters in Arizona, Nevada and Ohio voted for statewide smoke-free laws on each of the states’ ballots, which will soon bring the total to 19 states once they are enacted. Moreover, a January 2006 national poll support by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that nearly 7 in 10 voters favor a law in their community or state that would prohibit smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars.
The evidence is clear that smoke-free laws protect health without harming business. In his June 2006 report on secondhand smoke, the U.S. Surgeon General found that secondhand smoke is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease, serious respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and asthma, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome. The Surgeon General also found that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke; only smoke-free policies provide effective protection; and smoke-free laws protect health without harming business. The latter conclusion is supported by dozens of scientific studies and the experience of the growing number of smoke-free countries, states and cities.
Local ACS CAN staff and volunteers, along with their public health partners, are working with the D.C. Department of Health and other organizations to ensure the new smokefree law is properly implemented and enforced. For more information on the law, visit http://doh.dc.gov/ and click on Smoke-free Law.
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 issue campaigns and voter education aimed at lawmakers and candidates 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 a leader in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its devastating consequences in the United States and around the world. By changing public attitudes and public policies on tobacco, 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.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Phone: (202) 585-3202
Email: [email protected]