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News Summary

Pro-Smoking Bill Reeks of Political Shenanigans

Publication Date: 2005-06-22
  • Author:Corey Miller, Wisconsin Media Relations Coordinator
  • Publication:American Cancer Society
MADISON, Wisc. The American Cancer Society and Wisconsin health groups are calling on lawmakers to reject the misleading language found in AB 414 and companion SB 202. American Cancer Society (ACS) leaders say both so-called "Smokefree Dining Act" bills actually support the tobacco industry. They bar local governments from adopting local laws limiting smoking and make inadequate state standards the norm across Wisconsin.
"By stripping communities of their power to limit smoking, AB 414 would throw out 21ordinances ensuring healthy air in public places an hundreds more prohibiting smoking in government buildings and vehicles," said Russ Hinz, Chief Operating Officer with the American Cancer Society.
AB 414 and SB 202 allow smoking anywhere in any restaurant that has liquor sales greater than 50% of total receipts, a standard covering most restaurants that hold liquor licenses. The bills also allow smoking in the bar area of any restaurant, and in meeting rooms and banquet halls. Hinz says local governments have stepped forward to protect workers and families from secondhand smoke where state laws have fallen short. "It's ironic that our state motto is 'Forward' when this proposed legislation takes us backward,"said Hinz, adding, "It would return Wisconsin to the days when people didn't believe secondhand smoke was at all harmful to health and make us, in essence, the 'ashtray' of the Midwest."
According to the American Cancer Society Cancer Facts and Figures, secondhand smoke is deadly to nonsmokers, bringing on the deaths of an estimated 3,000 from lung cancer and more than 35,000 from heart disease each year. The risks associated with secondhand smoke are so great that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise anyone with or at risk of cardiovascular disease to avoid all indoor places where smoking is occurring. The full Assembly is scheduled to vote on AB 414 tomorrow, June 23rd.

This morning, the Senate Committee on Job Creation, Economic Development and Consumer Affairs held a hearing on SB 202 and may vote to forward the measure.

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