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New CDC Report Demonstrates Urgency for All States and Cities to Become Smokefree

- Nearly Half of All US Residents Show Clinical Evidence of Deadly Secondhand Smoke Exposure -

- American Lung Association Calls Upon Lawmakers to Pass Comprehensive Legislation Banning Smoking in All Public Venues Across the Country by 2010 -

WASHINGON, July 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new report issued today by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) exemplifies the need for nonsmoking Americans to be better protected against exposure to secondhand smoke. The report finds that 46 percent of Americans show biologic exposure to the deadly toxins found in cigarettes. Even more startling are the millions of children this statistic includes.

In fact, recent studies indicate that 21 million or 35 percent of children are exposed to secondhand smoke on a regular basis. Secondhand smoke is especially harmful to young people and is responsible for more than 100,000 lower respiratory tract infections and also is the cause of thousands of hospitalizations each year.

"While the number of U.S. smokers has shown a decline in recent years, those still affected by the dangerous health implications of secondhand smoke exposure continues to remain steady at remarkably high levels," said Bernadette A. Toomey, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. "Our organization is poised to take significant and immediate action to end the needless and tragic cycle of disease that affects thousands of nonsmokers each year."

The American Lung Association is leading the Smokefree Air 2010 Challenge calling on all states and localities to pass comprehensive smokefree laws and to close loopholes in existing laws.

"Everyone deserves to breathe smokefree air regardless of where they live or work," added Toomey. "Countries with previously known 'smoking cultures' such as Ireland and France have successfully gone smokefree. It's a laudable goal and one that we can achieve here in the United States."

Since the American Lung Association first issued its 2010 Challenge in January of 2006, 23 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have passed comprehensive laws banning smoking in public areas. Yet, secondhand smoke exposure still causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths and 22,700-69,600 heart disease deaths in adult nonsmokers in the United States each year.

"The good news is that we are tantalizingly close to reaching our goal of a smokefree America by 2010," said Toomey. "We have a chance to dramatically improve the health of our nation and call upon the support of each and everyone to make our country a healthier place for all."

For more information on secondhand smoke and the American Lung Association's Smokefree Air 2010 Challenge, please visit Assistance to quit smoking can be found by calling 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872).

About the American Lung Association: Beginning our second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates are currently increasing while other major causes of death are declining. The American Lung Association funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is "Improving life, one breath at a time." For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or log on to

SOURCE American Lung Association
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