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News Summary

Smokefree workplace legislation approved by California Senate

Publication Date: 6/5/2011
  • Publication:San Francisco Chronicle (blog)

The following press release was issued by the Office of Senator Mark DeSaulnier:

On Thursday, with a 25-14 vote, the Senate passed SB 575 (DeSaulnier) to strengthen California's once ground- breaking smokefree workplace law. SB 575 will protect California workers and patrons by eliminating loopholes in the state's smokefree workplace law.

While once the leader in protecting workers from the toxic effects of secondhand smoke, California has fallen far behind. This is due to the exemptions and loopholes in California's smokefree workplace law. Because of these loopholes thousands of California workers and patrons of certain businesses continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke.

"It is time to bring California's once ground-breaking smokefree workplace law into the 21st Century," said DeSaulnier. "Twenty-five states have surpassed California's law and we should be ashamed. This bill will bring us up to par with other states"

SB 575 would remove the current exemptions in the smokefree workplace law that allow smoking in certain areas of a hotel/motel lobby and meeting and banquet rooms, warehouses, breakrooms, businesses with five or fewer employees, owner-operated businesses and other specified locations.

"Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in United States," said Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord). "Californians go to work to earn an honest day's pay for an honest day's work, not to breathe in toxic air. Yet, one in seven members of the workforce continues to be exposed to secondhand smoke at work. This bill helps assure a healthy workplace for all Californians."

This bill is co-sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association. It will next be sent to the State Assembly for consideration.