Get ready to head for the borders. A statewide ban on smoking is on its way.
Funny...everyone sponsoring this legislation is all for giving women the right to make choices over her own body and that of the unborn baby she's carrying.
How can they be so hypocritical?
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Comprehensive legislation that would make Illinois workplaces and indoor public places smoke-free has been introduced by Senator John J. Cullerton (D-6th District). Joining Senator Cullerton as co-sponsors of the Smoke-free Illinois Act (SB500) are Senator Christine Radogno (R-41st District) and Senator Mattie Hunter (D-3rd District). In the House, the legislation is being sponsored by Rep. Karen Yarbrough (D-7th District).
"As we kick off 2007, a smoke-free Illinois is my New Year's resolution for our state to protect all Illinois workers from the serious health risks related to secondhand smoke exposure," said Senator Cullerton. "This measure calls for all indoor public places and workplaces in Illinois, including bars, casinos and restaurants, to be 100 percent smoke-free," he said.
A diverse group consisting of more than 400 organizations, including the Illinois Coalition Against Tobacco, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians and the Illinois Public Health Association, applauded Sen. Cullerton for introducing legislation to make Illinois the next smoke-free state.
"The U.S. Surgeon General's June 2006 report concluded that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke," said Diana Hackbarth, R.N., Ph.D., and chair, Illinois Coalition Against Tobacco (ICAT). "Senator Cullerton is leading the charge in the General Assembly to protect all Illinois workers with a comprehensive clean indoor air law."
"It's clear that a growing number of elected officials in Illinois and throughout the country are realizing that smoke-free laws are a very effective tool to protect public health -- and particularly the health of workers," said Representative Yarbrough.
Hospitality Workers at Greatest Risk
Research shows that workers exposed to secondhand smoke on a daily basis are 20-30 percent more likely to develop cancer than other workers. In fact, working one eight-hour shift in a smoky workplace is equivalent to smoking 16 cigarettes.
"Restaurant, bar and hospitality workers are exposed to the highest levels of secondhand smoke of any occupational or demographic group and they should not have to risk their health for a paycheck," said Cullerton. "And according to the Surgeon General's report, establishing smoke-free workplaces is the only effective way to eliminate secondhand smoke in the workplace," he said.
Many businesses -- particularly restaurants and bars -- recognize the benefits of stronger clean indoor air laws, which include fewer employee sick days, reduced insurance costs and in many cases, revenue increases. Yet of the nation's 6.6 million food preparation and service occupations workers, only 43 percent have the benefit of smoke-free workplaces, while more than 75 percent of the nation's white collar workers are protected by smoke-free policies. Additionally, the British Medical Journal published a study in June 2004 that found that the risks of secondhand smoke exposure are much worse than previously thought: exposure can increase the risk of coronary heart disease by 50-60 percent, twice the previous estimated risk.
Illinois Poised to Join Nationwide Trend
Since the General Assembly allowed local municipalities to adopt clean indoor air laws, communities throughout Illinois have moved quickly to protect public health and eliminate secondhand smoke from all indoor public places and workplaces. As of Jan. 2, 38 communities will have enacted smoke-free laws and by March 15, another four communities will implement new smoke free laws.
"While more than 42 communities throughout Illinois are now smoke-free, more than half of Illinois workers and residents remain exposed to the dangerous chemicals found in secondhand smoke," said Joel Africk, president, American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago. "This involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke is a public health crisis affecting people with existing lung diseases such as asthma and emphysema," he said. Africk also noted that in its recent State of Tobacco Control Report Card (2006), a national report that evaluates federal and state tobacco control laws, the American Lung Association gave the state of Illinois an "F" grade on smoke-free air.
Today, 16 states (compared to just two states four years ago) and hundreds of municipalities nationwide have already passed comprehensive smoke-free workplace laws. Elected officials throughout the country acknowledge that voters want and support smoke-free laws to protect public health.
"It's time to stop the needless suffering and devastation caused by secondhand smoke by giving everyone the right to breathe clean air," said Clement Rose, M.D., president of the American Cancer Society, Illinois Division. "Backed by thousands of American Cancer Society volunteers and coalition partners, we will not rest until all of Illinois can enjoy a comprehensive, smoke-free policy that is proven to reduce cancer. Right now, Illinois is playing catch up on this critical public health concern -- and real lives are at stake," he said.
Well-known Dangers of Secondhand Smoke
"In response to the national trend to enact statewide, comprehensive clean indoor air laws, the Illinois Coalition Against Tobacco formed its Smokefree Illinois Campaign," said Harold P. Wimmer, President and CEO, American Lung Association of Illinois. "With more than 400 organizations signed on, we represent state and local social service agencies, medical associations, public health associations and health departments," said Wimmer.
The health effects of secondhand smoke exposure are well documented:
-- Adults exposed to secondhand smoke have 25-35 percent higher coronary death rates
-- Children exposed to secondhand smoke have higher rates of respiratory infections and irritations and exposure to secondhand smoke increases the number and severity of asthma attacks in children and adults
-- In Illinois, eight people die from exposure to secondhand smoke each
and every day "We know there is a correlation between smoke-free laws and the rate of heart attacks," said Joni Clark, M.D., American Heart Association, Sangamon County Board of Directors. "A study conducted in Sept. 2001 in Helena, Montana showed that during the six months the city had a smoke-free ordinance, the rate of heart attacks in the Helena area declined by 40 percent. When the law was suspended, the rate of heart attacks increased.
"It is clear from the experience of other states, that a clean indoor air law that protects everyone from secondhand smoke has positive health and economic results," said Sen. Cullerton. "It is time for the Illinois General Assembly to move on this important public health issue," he said.
NOTE: For more information on the Surgeon General's report or the effects of secondhand smoke, visit http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/secondhandsmoke or
SOURCE The Office of Senator John Cullerton