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 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, “28 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% of Texans agree: Everyone should have the right to breathe smoke-free air.”
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.