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Virginia Restaurants Urged to Go Completely Smoke-Free After Major Report Finds Smoke-Free Laws Prevent Heart Attacks
Date:10/16/2009

law and provide information to businesses about the health hazards of secondhand smoke and how to go smoke-free.

"Health advocates urge officials to successfully enforce the new law and give all Virginians the right to breathe clean air," said Keenan Caldwell, Government Relations State Director for the American Cancer Society in Virginia. "Across the country, a growing number of states and communities have proven that smoke-free laws are very popular with the public, easy to implement and protect health without harming business. It's time for all Virginia restaurants and workplaces to join this movement and go completely smoke-free."

Even before this IOM report, there was already conclusive evidence that secondhand smoke causes death and disease, while smoke-free laws protect health and save lives. As the U.S. Surgeon General stated in issuing a groundbreaking report on secondhand smoke in June 2006, "The debate is over. The science is clear: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance but a serious health hazard that causes premature death and disease in children and nonsmoking adults."

Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including at least 69 carcinogens. The Surgeon General found that secondhand smoke causes heart disease, lung cancer, serious respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome. The Surgeon General also found that secondhand smoke is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in the U.S. each year, there is no safe level of exposure and smoke-free laws protect health without harming business.

The IOM's conclusions that smoke-free laws prevent heart attacks and that even short-term exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to a heart attack add significantly to the Surgeon General's report. The IOM report was requested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the wake of a growing number of studies in smoke-free localities, sta
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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