Letters to the Editor

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SMOKING: Washington’s Clean Indoor Air Act under attack

Letter by Maynard Hedegaard, Puyallup on Feb. 14, 2013 at 5:28 pm | No Comments »
February 14, 2013 5:28 pm

The tobacco industry is at it again. They just won’t give up their fight to punch a hole in this state’s Clean Indoor Air law.

In 2005, with 65 percent of the vote, voters in Pierce County and, in fact, all 39 Washington counties, voted to pass Initiative 901, making all indoor public places and workplaces smoke-free. Now the tobacco industry and a few special interest groups are trying to overturn the will of Washington’s people by allowing smoking in 100 bars/restaurants and 500 tobacco shops!

There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke; employees in these businesses would be breathing dangerous air. Every employee has a right to a safe smoke-free workplace, and no one should have to choose between their health and a paycheck.

If this bill were to pass, Washington would be the first state in the nation to go backwards on its Clean Indoor Air protections. We must tell our legislators not to let this happen. Since I-901 passed seven years ago, support for clean indoor air has actually increased; a recent poll shows that support for the law has risen to 84 percent.

That’s why volunteers for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network are working in Olympia with volunteers from other health organizations to educate legislators on the real impact of this legislation. It’s not about allowing a small exemption. It’s about giving the tobacco industry the power they’ve been trying to regain for years — and the victims will be innocent citizens.

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