New Orleans Celebrates Successful… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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New Orleans Celebrates Successful Year of Smoke-Free Air

Statement by Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
April 22, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, New Orleans celebrates the first anniversary of its comprehensive smoke-free law that protects everyone’s right to breathe clean air by prohibiting smoking inside all workplaces, including bars and casinos. Residents, workers and visitors now enjoy all the Big Easy offers while breathing clean air. Employees in bars, casinos, music venues and other workplaces no longer need to choose between earning a paycheck and breathing clean air free from hazardous secondhand smoke. We applaud Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the City Council for standing strong in support of the law.

The law has only grown in popularity since the City Council passed it unanimously last spring and it was signed into law by Mayor Landrieu. Polling shows that nearly 80 percent of New Orleans voters support the law. Residents recognize the benefits of a smoke-free environment, saying that smoke-free bars and casinos are healthier and more enjoyable. Studies have also shown that air quality in the bars and casinos improved by 96 percent following the law’s implementation.

About half of the U.S. population is covered by comprehensive smoke-free laws in 24 states, Washington, D.C. and hundreds of cities. With its smoke-free law, New Orleans set a powerful and important example for states and cities in the South, which have lagged behind the rest of the United States in providing this important protection for public health.

Secondhand smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and at least 69 that cause cancer. It is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and only smoke-free laws provide effective protection. Evidence shows smoke-free laws protect health without harming business.

It’s time for every city and state to follow the lead of New Orleans and go smoke-free.