Ad Campaign: All Texans Should Have the Right to Breathe Smoke-Free Air

Ad Calls for Smoke-Free Restaurants, Bars and Workplaces Statewide

Apr. 27 2009

AUSTIN, Texas — As a Texas House committee prepares to consider comprehensive smoke-free workplace legislation this week, a coalition of public health organizations is launching a radio advertising campaign urging the Legislature to approve a smoke-free law that protects all Texans from harmful secondhand smoke.

The radio ad, airing in Houston this week, states, "Twenty-eight Texas cities, including Houston, are already smoke-free. But lots of Texans are still forced to breathe secondhand smoke in workplaces, restaurants, and in other public places." The advertisement further states, "Nearly 70 percent of Texans agree: Everyone should have the right to breathe smoke-free air."

Listen to the ad.

The House State Affairs Committee is scheduled to consider legislation Tuesday that would provide statewide, comprehensive protection from secondhand smoke exposure in all indoor workplaces and public places, including restaurants and bars. Earlier this month, the Senate Health Committee held a hearing on the same legislation. 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," said Mathew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Texans deserve a smoke-free law that protects all workers and customers statewide. Everyone has the right to breathe clean, smoke-free air, free from the proven dangers of secondhand smoke."

Texans strongly support a comprehensive smoke-free law. In a January 2009 poll, 68 percent of Texas voters supported prohibiting smoking in all indoor work and public places, including restaurants and bars.

The ad campaign is sponsored by the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association in coordination with Smoke-Free Texas, a coalition of public health organizations including the American Lung Association, Lance Armstrong Foundation Association and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, among others.

Facts about Secondhand Smoke:

  • Secondhand smoke is a serious public health hazard. In issuing a landmark report on secondhand smoke in June 2006, the U.S. Surgeon General stated, "The debate is over. The science is clear: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard that causes premature death and disease in children and nonsmoking adults." According to the Surgeon General, secondhand smoke is proven to cause lung cancer, heart disease, serious respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and asthma, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome. It is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in the United States each year. The Surgeon General also found that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke and the only effective way to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke is with comprehensive smoke-free workplaces and public places.
  • Smoke-free laws protect health without harming business. As the Surgeon General concluded, "Evidence from peer-reviewed studies show that smoke-free policies and regulations do not have an adverse impact on the hospitality industry."
  • Texans deserve the same protections from secondhand smoke — and the same right to breathe clean air — that more than half of all Americans already have. Twenty-five states and Washington, DC, have passed smoke-free laws that include restaurants and bars.

 

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