A coalition of Texas public health organizations this week launched a radio advertising campaign about the need for a comprehensive, statewide smoke-free workplace law that protects all Texans from the serious health hazards of secondhand smoke.
The new advertising campaign focuses on the serious health risks of secondhand smoke, the growing number of states that have enacted comprehensive smoke-free laws and the strong public support for a comprehensive law in Texas.
"What's Texas waiting for? With a comprehensive statewide smoke-free law, we can protect everyone's right to breathe clean air," the radio ad states.
The ad campaign is sponsored by the American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, HCSIA, Lance Armstrong Foundation, March of Dimes, Texas Medical Association and the Texas PTA. It is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
"Secondhand smoke is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses," said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "With a comprehensive smoke-free law in Texas, we can ensure that no one has to choose between their health and their paycheck."
Melinda Little, co-manager of Smoke-Free Texas, added, "It would be totally unacceptable for Texas to have two classes of citizens—those we protect and those we don't protect from the deadly pollutants in secondhand smoke."
Facts about secondhand smoke:
- Secondhand smoke is a serious public health hazard. In issuing a landmark report on secondhand smoke in June 2006, the U.S. Surgeon General stated, "The debate is over. The science is clear: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but 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 known to cause cancer. According to the Surgeon General, secondhand smoke is proven to cause lung cancer, heart disease, serious respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and asthma, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome. It is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in the United States each year. The Surgeon General also found that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke; the only way to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke is with comprehensive smoke-free workplaces and public places; and smoke-free laws do not hurt business.
- Texans deserve the same protections from secondhand smoke—and the same right to breathe clean air—that more than half of all Americans already have. The ad points out that 24 states and 27 cities within Texas have passed smoke-free laws that include restaurants and bars.
- Texans strongly support a comprehensive smoke-free law. Two-thirds of Texas voters agreed that all workers should be protected from secondhand smoke.
For more information, visit: www.smokefreetexas.org.