Florida Clean Indoor Air Amendment Will Improve Health and Save Lives

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Jul. 17 2001

Washington, DC — In November 2002, Florida's voters will have a chance to dramatically improve the health of kids and families and the quality of the air that they breathe by supporting a Constitutional Amendment banning indoor tobacco smoke in most public spaces. THE CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS is pleased to be joining Florida's leading public health groups — the American Lung Association, American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society — in support of the initiative.

Passing this initiative will reduce the public's exposure to the deadly poisons found in secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals and 43 carcinogens including formaldehyde, cyanide, arsenic, carbon monoxide, methane, benzene and radioactive polonium-210. Because the deadly poisons in secondhand smoke are unfiltered, they are up to 100 times higher than in smoke inhaled directly through cigarettes or cigars.

The dangers of second-hand smoke are well documented. It is responsible for 3,000 cancer deaths each year as well as 62,000 deaths from coronary artery disease. In addition, it is known to cause serious respiratory problems in children, such as greater severity of asthma attacks and lower respiratory infections.

We expect the tobacco industry and their allies will mobilize to kill this measure by fiercely asserting phony claims that the measure will harm business and the economy. In fact, their claims fly in to face of most independent evidence that indoor smoking bans have either no impact or even a positive impact on business. For example, studies of sales tax data from 81 localities in six states showed smoking restrictions in restaurants had absolutely no effect on revenues.

Americans strongly support smoking bans. We are confident that when Floridians learn these facts, they'll reject Big Tobacco's distortions, and act to protect the public's health by improving the air they breathe.

 

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