Urgent Action Needed: WA legislators letting the smoke back inside
Publication Date: 5/5/2011
Breaking News: Bill to Weaken Washington’s Smokefree Law Passed Through Committee
In 2005, Washington voters like you in ALL 39 Washington counties voted to make all workplaces 100% smokefree.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee just voted to let the smoke back inside by opening up exemptions in our popular smokefree air law. Senate Bill 5542 will allow smoking back into 600 stores and restaurants, putting hundreds of Washington’s workers at risk by exposing them to dangerous levels of toxic secondhand smoke in order to earn a paycheck.
The clean indoor air law made it illegal to smoke in all indoor public places and workplaces in our state. Since the law’s implementation, indoor air pollution has decreased by 88% in bars and restaurants and compliance with the law is high.
If passed, Senate Bill 5542 would weaken our smokefree law by carving out workplaces that would be allowed to have cigar, pipe, hookah, etc. smoking inside. We know the simplest laws are the most effective. Click here to tell your elected officials to put the brakes on creating this complicated loophole.
Not only is the Senate moving forward with this bill that threatens public health, the current Senate budget proposal also eliminates 100% of tobacco prevention funding! Instead they are replacing it with nominal funds collected through smoke shop and cigar lounge licensing fees. This trims tobacco cessation funding to a dangerously low level, while also encouraging public exposure to secondhand smoke.
Quit assistance funding for tobacco users should not be tied to increased secondhand smoke in public places. The small amount brought in by Senate Bill 5542 is not enough to cover adequate quit assistance for Washingtonians, and the revenue is a drop in the bucket compared to the increased cost to the state with the return of dangerous levels of secondhand smoke. Realistically, much of the first year there will be NO quit services available.
Please take action today and let your voice be heard!