Fort Worth Delivers Tremendous Victory for Smoke-Free Air

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
December 13, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – The Fort Worth City Council Tuesday delivered a major victory for health by approving a citywide ordinance that makes all workplaces and public places smoke-free, including bars and bingo parlors. The new law will protect the right of all Fort Worth residents, workers and visitors to breathe clean air, free from the serious health hazards of secondhand smoke. 

Residents and visitors alike will now be able to enjoy all that Fort Worth has to offer while enjoying clean air. Service industry employees, in particular, won't be forced to choose between earning a paycheck and breathing smoke-free air. Fort Worth, which was the only major city in Texas without a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance, now joins more than 80 cities across the state in protecting citizens from exposure to secondhand smoke.

Tuesday’s victory adds to the growing momentum across the country and around the world to protect everyone's right to breathe clean, smoke-free air. The Council’s action adds Fort Worth to the ever-growing list of countries, states and cities with a comprehensive smoke-free law. In the United States, 25 states, Washington, DC, and hundreds of cities currently have smoke-free laws that apply to all workplaces, restaurants and bars, protecting almost 60 percent of the U.S. population. Fort Worth has set a particularly important example for states and cities in the South, which have lagged behind the rest of the nation in providing this important protection for health. It’s time for every state and community to go smoke-free.

We applaud Mayor Betsy Price, the City Council, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, the Smoke-Free Fort Worth Coalition and others who supported the ordinance for their leadership and perseverance in working to improve the city’s health. Everyone deserves the right to breathe clean air, and the council’s action today will help make that a reality in the great city of Fort Worth. Polling shows that 91 percent of Fort Worth residents agree that everyone deserves the right to breathe smoke-free air at work and in public places.

Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and at least 69 that cause cancer. According to the Surgeon General, secondhand smoke causes lung cancer, heart disease and stroke in non-smoking adults and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), low birth weight, respiratory problems, ear infections and more severe asthma in infants and children. The Surgeon General has also found that secondhand smoke is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in the United States each year, there is no safe level of exposure, and only smoke-free laws provide effective protection. The evidence is also clear that smoke-free laws protect health without hurting business.