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Virginia Leaders Should Reject Flawed Smoke-Free Legislation That Fails to Protect Everyone's Right to Breathe Clean Air
Date:2/5/2009

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, was released today:

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080918/CFTFKLOGO)

The smoke-free restaurant legislation announced today in Virginia fails to protect all workers and the public from the proven dangers of secondhand smoke. We strongly urge the Virginia House and Senate to reject this bill and instead enact a comprehensive, statewide smoke-free law that protects every Virginian's right to breathe clean, smoke-free air.

This legislation would halt the significant progress and momentum in Virginia toward enacting a smoke-free law that truly protects all workers and the public. It includes exemptions that would continue to expose workers and patrons to secondhand smoke and put their health at risk, including exemptions for private clubs, smoking rooms in restaurants and weak enforcement provisions. It would continue to deny local governments the right to protect the health of their citizens by enacting stronger smoke-free laws. And it runs counter to the views of Virginia voters, three-fourths of whom support a statewide law that makes all workplaces, including restaurants, completely smoke-free.

Legislators should listen to Virginia voters and approve legislation that applies to ALL workplaces and protect the health of ALL workers and the public. In a January 2009 poll, 75 percent of Virginia voters said they support a statewide law that makes all restaurants completely smoke-free. And 80 percent of voters agreed that the right of customers and employees to breathe clean air trumps the right of smokers to smoke in restaurants, bars and other workplaces.

At a time when a growing number of communities, states and even entire countries are enacting compr
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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