Oct. 14 2008
Washington, D.C. — Secondhand smoke is dangerous no matter the time of day, and Virginia needs a law requiring restaurants to be smoke-free at all times and not just at certain times as some leaders have proposed, according to a newspaper advertising campaign launched today by a coalition of public health organizations.
The newspaper ad, which appears today in the Richmond Times-Dispatch and continues for two weeks, states, "No matter the time of day, lung cancer shouldn't be on the menu." The advertisement further states, "All Virginians deserve the right to breathe clean air. Every hour. Every day."
News reports indicate that some state officials are considering a plan that would still allow smoking in Virginia restaurants after 10 p.m. Leading public health organizations have criticized the plan, which would be difficult and costly to enforce and — most importantly - would continue to put workers' and customers' health at risk. Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including 69 known to cause cancer — and those toxins can linger long after the last cigarette is put out. Secondhand smoke is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses.
"No one should have to risk their health in order to earn a paycheck or enjoy a night out in a restaurant," said William V. Corr, Executive Director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Virginians deserve a real smoke-free law that protects all workers and customers at all times of the day and night. Everyone has the right to breathe clean, smoke-free air, free from the proven dangers of secondhand smoke."
Virginians strongly support a comprehensive smoke-free law. In a January 2008 poll, 75 percent of Virginia voters said they support a statewide law that makes all restaurants completely smoke-free. And 88 percent of voters agreed that all workers in Virginia should be protected from exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace.
The ad campaign is sponsored by Virginians for a Healthy Future, American Lung Association of Virginia, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Facts about Secondhand Smoke: