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Congress Breathes Easier, Thanks to Speaker Pelosi's Successful Efforts to Eliminate House Smoking Rooms

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Cheryl G. Healton, DrPH, President and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation:

The American Legacy Foundation(R) applauds Speaker Nancy Pelosi and all those in the U.S. House of Representatives who have worked tirelessly to protect Capitol Hill staff and visitors from the dangers of second-hand smoke.

On Thursday, the House's last two indoor smoking rooms are being cleaned and converted to smoke-free dining areas. It is no secret that secondhand smoke is dangerous - it causes 50,000 deaths per year in the U.S. Our halls of government should be playing a leadership role in ensuring clean indoor air for their staff and the visiting public and setting a positive example for other work places and public spaces nationwide.

This effort comes at a time of considerable advancement in the movement against tobacco. Earlier this year, Congress passed two landmark decisions that will improve the lives of Americans, helping to protect us all from tobacco-related diseases. The State Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act increasing the Federal excise tax on tobacco and the Family Smoking Prevention and Control Act securing authority for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco are both advancing positive change in respect to the fight against tobacco.

The closing of the smoking rooms in the Longworth and Cannon House office buildings is one more indication that we're moving in the right direction and toward a smoke-free America.

Congratulations and thank you, Speaker Pelosi.

The American Legacy Foundation(R) is dedicated to building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Located in Washington, D.C., the foundation develops programs that address the health effects of tobacco use, especially among vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by the toll of tobacco, through grants, technical assistance and training, partnerships, youth activism, and counter-marketing and grassroots marketing campaigns. The foundation's programs include truth(R), a national youth smoking prevention campaign that has been cited as contributing to significant declines in youth smoking; EX(R), an innovative public health program designed to speak to smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting; research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to reducing tobacco use; and a nationally-renowned program of outreach to priority populations. The American Legacy Foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. Visit

SOURCE American Legacy Foundation
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