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Indiana's Faith, Health Leaders Join Push for Comprehensive Smokefree Law
Date:3/3/2009

Call on Legislature to "See the light on smokefree air"

INDIANAPOLIS, March 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Leaders of Indiana's major faith denominations today joined the fight to reduce the devastating effects of tobacco-caused death and disease in Indiana by asking legislators to pass a comprehensive smokefree law that protects every Hoosier's right to breathe clean, smokefree air. Faith leaders will march to the State House and assemble candles into a super-size no-smoking symbol in an effort to help lawmakers "see the light on smokefree air."

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Leaders from a diverse array of faith denominations will join together at the Smokefree Indiana Legislative Luncheon hosted today by the Hoosier Faith and Health Coalition. More than 75 faith and health leaders will gather at the State House rotunda at 2 p.m. to show support and push for a comprehensive smokefree law that protects all Hoosier kids and workers from tobacco.

"We in the faith community know what must be done to protect the countless number of Indiana residents who are still exposed to the serious health harms of secondhand smoke," said Rev. Daniel R. Gangler, co-convener of the Hoosier Faith and Health Coalition. "We have a moral obligation to urge our elected officials to see the light on smokefree air and pass this critical legislation because each and every one of our brothers and sisters deserves the right to breathe clean, smokefree air. As faith leaders, we cannot stand by idly, but must act to ensure that all Indiana residents have equal protection from the more than 4,000 chemicals found in secondhand smoke."

As originally introduced, House Bill 1213 - sponsored by Representative Charlie Brown - was comprehensive, statewide smokefree legislation that would have protected all Indiana residents from the dangers of secondhand smoke. But the bill was significantly weakened before passing the House 70-26, and now includes massive unacceptable loopholes. The Hoosier Faith and Health Coalition and other health advocacy groups are pressing legislators to return to the original language and approve a comprehensive smokefree law that covers all workplaces, including restaurants, bars and casinos.

It's time for Indiana to join the growing number of states and communities that have taken action to protect everyone's right to breathe clean air. No one should have to choose between their health and a paycheck.

Facts about Secondhand Smoke and Smokefree Laws:

  • Twenty-four states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico - as well as hundreds of cities and towns - have passed smokefree laws that cover restaurants and bars. The states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Washington.
  • Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including at least 69 carcinogens. The Surgeon General found that secondhand smoke is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease, and serious respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome.
  • The evidence is clear that smokefree laws protect health without harming business. As the Surgeon General concluded, "Evidence from peer-reviewed studies shows that smokefree policies and regulations do not have an adverse impact on the hospitality industry."


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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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