MA residents: Ask Gov. Patrick to veto dangerous smokefree precedent
Publication Date: 2011-06-30
The proposed 2012 Massachusetts budget includes language that will set a very dangerous precedent at weakening local control on smokefree air issues.
The language in the budget will strip Boston, Worcester, and Springfield from the ability to prohibit smoking in their existing cigar and tobacco bars.
The state smokefree workplace law provides an exemption for tobacco bars, such as cigar lounges. However, more than 40 communities have passed local laws to restrict smoking in these venues. Tobacco bars are often located within mixed-use buildings, and people working or living next door to or above these establishments are exposed to drifting tobacco smoke.
What can you do?
Please ask Governor Patrick to veto the preemptive tobacco bar language in the 2012 budget. You can submit a comment by email form (scroll to bottom of page) or call the Governor’s Office at 888-870-7770.
Removing local control is called preemption, and it is has been the tobacco industry’s #1 legislative goal since the 1980’s. Massachusetts became a national leader in tobacco control because it allows local control, and communities are able to adopt strong, innovative smokefree policies to protect their residents. When the state smokefree law was enacted in 2004, more than 100 communities had already adopted local laws restricting smoking in indoor workplaces and public places. Now the legislature is chipping away at this important right.
Massachusetts has made too much progress to let the tobacco industry’s goals to interfere with strong public health policy. Who should be making decisions about public health in Massachusetts: the tobacco industry and its allies, or local Boards of Health?