Bill must pass for health of everyone

Published 5:55 pm Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dear Editor,

I am hoping this is the year Alabama goes smoke-free.

Sen. Vivian Figures introduced Senate Bill 130 and State Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin introduced HB490, legislation that would make all workplaces in our state, including restaurants and bars, smoke free.

Smoke-free laws are an important tool in the fight against diseases like cancers and heart and lung diseases.

Research has proven that exposure to secondhand smoke causes 3,000 lung cancer deaths and between 35,000 and 40,000 deaths from heart disease each year.

The bottom line for me, though, is this: every worker in our state has the right to breathe smoke-free air. Studies show that workers exposed to secondhand smoke are one-third more likely to develop cancer than those who work in a smoke-free environment.

The passage of a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance is a progressive health policy in the best interests of our workforce. I urge Alabama’s leaders to enact smoke-free legislation for the health of our community.

– Aimee N. Eiland, Clanton