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News Summary

Group celebrates third anniversary of smoking ban

Publication Date: 7/21/2009
  • Author:Rob Moritz
  • Publication:Arkansas News

Health officials Tuesday celebrated the third anniversary of laws passed to create smoke-free environments and urged the Legislature to add more restrictive measures during the 2011 session.

"We should continue to strive for smoke-free laws and strengthening the laws that we do have in Arkansas," said Katherine Donald, executive director of the Coalition for Tobacco Free Arkansas.

The Arkansas Clean Indoor Air Act took effect July 21, 2006. Passed during a special legislative session, the law banned smoking in most public places, including restaurants.

During the anniversary celebration Tuesday, held at Juanita's Cafe and Bar in downtown Little Rock, Dr. Carolyn Dressler said the Legislature should prohibit smoking in all public places because numerous studies have shown the dangers of secondhand smoke.

"We need to look at strengthening this already very good law," said Dressler, chief of the state Department of Health's Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program. "We're very fortunate in Arkansas that the Clean Indoor Act covers the majority of venues and therefore we're able to help the majority of Arkansans, and now let's move that forward and make that a comprehensive clean air act."