Michigan Joins 26 Other States as Smoke-Free

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The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids released a statement yesterday praising the Michigan Legislature for passing smoke-free legislation. In passing the strong smoke-free law, Michigan becomes the 27th state to be labeled smoke-free.

The legislation will make almost all workplaces, including all restaurants and bars, smoke-free. Gov. Jennifer Granholm has said she will sign the bill. This legislation is a huge step forward for Michigan's health that will protect workers and the public from the serious health hazards of secondhand smoke.

In the statement from Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, he states "We applaud the leadership and persistence of the many individuals and organizations that have fought the long battle to make Michigan smoke-free. It is a fitting tribute that the bill is named after the late Ron Davis, M.D., a tobacco control leader nationally and in Michigan and past president of the American Medical Association. It is, however, disappointing that the legislation includes an exemption for the gaming floors of existing casinos. Casino workers deserve the same protection from secondhand smoke as other workers. No one should have to put their health at risk in order to earn a paycheck or enjoy a night out."

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The Michigan legislation will take effect May 1, 2010. Once the Michigan law and all other state and local laws have been implemented, 62 percent of Americans will be protected by strong smoke-free laws that include restaurants and bars.

The other 26 states to have enacted smoke-free laws that cover restaurants and bars are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina (effective Jan. 2, 2010), Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin (effective July 5, 2010). South Dakota has also enacted such a law, but it is on hold pending a voter referendum in November 2010. Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico also have such laws.

Secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard that causes premature death and disease in children and nonsmoking adults. Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including at least 69 carcinogens. Secondhand smoke is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease, serious respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and asthma, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome.

It's time for every state and community to protect everyone's right to breathe clean air.

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