Advocacy Day Shines a Light on the Need for Comprehensive Clean Indoor Air

(April 30, 2012)

Harrisburg, PA — The American Lung Association and statewide health advocates are making a stand for comprehensive clean indoor air for all workers in Pennsylvania. The cry “No More Exemptions” will be heard by lawmakers when the Lung Association hosts Advocacy Day, May 1 at the Harrisburg State Capitol. The event starts at noon.

Pennsylvania enacted a Clean Indoor Air law in 2008, but as beneficial as that law was, it was not perfect. That law has several exemptions that allow workers and patrons at thousands of Pennsylvania businesses to be exposed to secondhand smoke. These business exemptions include:

  • Bars, with 20 percent or less revenue from food sales
  • Casinos (up to 50 percent of the gaming floor)
  • Private Clubs
  • Tobacco Shops
  • Cigar Bars
  • Truck stops with shower facilities

Comprehensive clean indoor air legislation would prohibit smoking in all indoor workplaces and public places, with no exemptions. A comprehensive clean indoor air law would protect all workers and the public from the harmful pollutants, including carcinogens, of secondhand smoke exposure and would provide a level playing field for all businesses across the Commonwealth.

“The current law does not go far enough,” says Deb Brown, President and CEO of American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic. “Pennsylvania needs a comprehensive clean indoor air law that protects all citizens equally. Casinos, taverns and private club owners successfully lobbied legislators for exemptions, despite strong public opposition. There are currently over 2,800 exemptions to Pennsylvania’s Clean Indoor Air Act.”

According to the American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control 2012 report, released January 19, 2012, Pennsylvania received a passing grade in some areas, but fell short in others to protect children and adults and curb tobacco-related disease in 2011. Pennsylvania earned an “F” in Tobacco Prevention and Control Spending and Cessation Coverage, a “C” in Smokefree Air and a “C” in Cigarette Tax. 

In addition to Deb Brown, speakers scheduled to appear at Advocacy Day include State Sen. Stewart J. Greenleaf (R-Montgomery), State Rep. Tony Payton, Jr. (D-Philadelphia), and State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks).

“Pennsylvanians want this,” says Brown. “Eighty six percent of Pennsylvania voters surveyed agreed that restaurants and bars would be healthier for customers and employees if they were smoke free, and 84 percent of Pennsylvania voters surveyed believed that all Pennsylvania workers should be protected from secondhand smoke in the workplace.”
“The movement for a comprehensive clean indoor air act has taken root in the community. Folks are using social media as a way to generate support,” adds Brown. “Secondhand smoke kills six Pennsylvanians a day. When that death toll starts to include a higher percentage of casino and club employees, nobody should be surprised. Do we really have to let hundreds of Pennsylvanians die because of secondhand smoke before we pass a more inclusive, comprehensive clean indoor air law?”
 


About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a Charity Navigator Four Star Charity and holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lungusa.org.