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Report Documents Major Progress in Passage of Lifesaving Smoke-Free Laws

Statement from ACS CAN President on CDC Report, Released on American Cancer Society's 37th Great American Smokeout

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Residents of 30 of America's 50 largest cities are currently covered by comprehensive smoke-free laws, compared to just one city in 2010, according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Office on Smoking and Health (OSH). The article, entitled "Comprehensive Smoke-free Law Coverage in the 50 Largest U.S. Cities: 2000 and 2012," is featured in this week's issue of the CDC journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The report found that residents in the 30 cities receive protection from a law that prohibits smoking in all private workplaces, restaurants and bars at the local and/or state level. Of the remaining cities on the list, 14 provide coverage in one or two of the three types of venues through either a state or local law. Six cities on the list – including Atlanta, Virginia Beach and Oklahoma City - have no 100 percent smoke-free requirement in any workplaces, restaurants or bars.

A statement from Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), follows:

"The CDC report documents the dramatic progress made in the past 12 years to protect Americans from the serious dangers of secondhand smoke. Thanks to the passage of comprehensive smoke-free laws in states and cities nationwide, nearly 150 million people across the country have the security of knowing that they and their families will be protected from exposure to deadly secondhand smoke in public places.

"Everyone has the right to breathe smoke-free air and no one should have to choose between their health and their job. ACS CAN is committed to working community by community and state by state until every worker in America is protected from secondhand smoke under a comprehensive smoke-free law. In fact, ACS CAN and the American Cancer Society have played a major role in nearly every campaign to enact comprehensive smoke-free laws in 24 states, Washington, D.C. and several U.S. territories, protecting nearly half of the U.S. population from secondhand smoke.

"On a day that smokers across the country attempt to quit the habit in honor of the American Cancer Society's 37th Great American Smokeout, people with cancer call on lawmakers to pass legislation that protects employees and patrons from secondhand smoke in all workplaces, restaurants and bars. Comprehensive smoke-free laws, higher tobacco taxes and fully funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs can play a critically important role in helping the 19 percent of Americans who still smoke kick the deadly habit.

"While this report represents major progress in diminishing the toll tobacco use has had on our country, lawmakers should be aware that there are still significant gaps in coverage and much more work to be done. Elected officials at all levels of government should do their part to ensure that the tobacco industry cannot continue to deceive the American people and addict our children to its deadly products."

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.acscan.org.

SOURCE American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)

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