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Pennsylvania Conference Committee Should Approve Smoke-Free Bill That Covers All Workplaces and Protects All Workers
Date:5/9/2008

WASHINGTON, May 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement of William V. Corr, Executive Director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

As a conference committee prepares to meet Monday on smoke-free workplace legislation in Pennsylvania, we urge the committee members, the Legislature and Governor Ed Rendell to enact a strong smoke-free law that covers all workplaces and public places and protects all Pennsylvanians from the deadly dangers of secondhand smoke. It is also critical that the conference committee reject pre-emptive language that would prohibit local governments from enacting stronger smoke-free laws.

The conference committee should approve legislation that protects all workers and covers all workplaces and public places, including restaurants, bars and casinos. Any exemptions would send an unacceptable message that some workers' health and lives are less worthy of protection than others. Exemptions would create two classes of workers in Pennsylvania - those who have a healthy workplace free of secondhand smoke and those who do not and are put at higher risk of lung cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses. Workers in bars and casinos have the same right to breathe clean, smoke-free air as those who work in offices. No Pennsylvanians should have to put their health at risk so they can earn a paycheck or enjoy a night out. A poll last year found that 84 percent of Pennsylvania voters agree that all workers should be protected from secondhand smoke.

It is disappointing that, according to news reports, the conference committee is considering legislation that would exempt casinos and many bars and pre-empt local governments from enacting stronger laws. Should such legislation be approved, we would strongly urge Governor Rendell to veto it. Pennsylvania leaders should enact a comprehensive smoke-free law that applies to all workplaces and public places, protects all workers and the public, and preserv
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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