Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Release from the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Lung Association

Indianapolis Needs a Comprehensive Smokefree Law

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Lung Association today called on the Indianapolis City-County Council to protect the health of the entire Indianapolis workforce by enacting a comprehensive smokefree workplace ordinance.
Backed by an ever-growing coalition of supporters, Indianapolis Councilors introduced an ordinance this week to ensure healthy, smokefree workplaces county-wide, including bars and bowling alleys. This comprehensive smokefree ordinance will improve upon the current smokefree law which allows exemptions for certain businesses. Comprehensive smokefree workplace policies protect all workers from the known health hazards of secondhand smoke.
Working together with Smoke Free Indy, the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Lung Association are committed to ensuring that all workplaces are smokefree and that no worker is treated as a second class citizen when it comes to their health.
“No one should have to choose between their job and their health. All workers should have the same protection from deadly chemicals in secondhand smoke whether they work in an office or restaurant, whether they took the bar exam or are a bartender; the law should cover everyone,” said Tanya Husain, Executive Director for the American Cancer Society, Central Indiana Area Service Center.
Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. It contains more than 4,000 chemicals including over 60 carcinogens, causing 35,000 – 40,000 deaths from heart disease every year, and 3,000 lung cancer deaths among otherwise healthy nonsmokers.
According to a May 2009 public opinion poll by the Survey Research Center at IUPUI, 81 percent of Marion County residents support the current smoke free law; 87 percent agree that all Indianapolis workers should be protected from secondhand smoke; 69.5 percent of Marion County resident support a law prohibiting smoking inside all workplaces, including bars, restaurants and bowling alleys.
“It’s time for Indianapolis leaders to take charge and pass a comprehensive smokefree law for the health and safety of all their citizens,” said Doug Stafford, Executive Director for the American Lung Association in Indiana. “All workers need to be protected – bartenders, servers, cooks and all the others who comprise the hospitality industry deserve the same protection from the harmful toxins in secondhand smoke responsible for thousands of deaths each year.”
Smokefree policies protect our most vulnerable citizens. A comprehensive policy would enable children, the elderly, and people with certain health conditions to enjoy establishments and venues in this city without putting their health at risk. Nonsmoking sections and ventilation systems, on the other hand, don’t eliminate exposure, as even the best ventilators are incapable of removing the free-floating poisons of secondhand smoke.
Smokefree policies benefit not only the health of non-smoking workers, but they also decrease absenteeism among all employees, as well as reduce housekeeping and maintenance costs, lower insurance rates and result in fewer smoking-related fires. A number of economic studies show that comprehensive smokefree workplace laws have a positive impact on business.
Currently, nine Indiana cities (including Franklin, Plainfield and Zionsville) and two Indiana counties (Hancock and Monroe) have smokefree laws that cover all workplaces including bars and restaurants.

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About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

About the American Heart Association
Founded in 1924, we're the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. To help prevent, treat and defeat these diseases -- America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers -- we fund cutting-edge research, conduct lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocate to protect public health. To learn more or join us in helping all Americans, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit http://www.americanheart.org/.

About the American Lung Association
For over 100 years, the American Lung Association has been the lead organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates continue to increase while other leading causes of death have declined. The American Lung Association funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air.” For more information about the American Lung Association call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or log on to http://www.lungusa.org/.

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