Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air Launches Advocacy Efforts

INDIANAPOLIS, IN. – Sept. 8, 2010 – Smokefree air advocates, spearheaded by the Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air (ICSA), today held a news conference at the Indiana State House to urge members of the Health Finance Commission to recommend the Indiana General Assembly pass a comprehensive smokefree. The Health Finance Commission is scheduled to hear testimony on the impact of statewide smokefree air laws from experts representing various health and business organizations from throughout Indiana and beyond.
“Today, members of the Health Finance Commission have a unique opportunity to recommend the Indiana General Assembly do right by the people, businesses and workers of Indiana and pass a statewide comprehensive smokefree air law that protects all workers, including those in bars, restaurants, and casinos, from exposure to secondhand smoke,” said Danielle Patterson, director of government relations for the American Heart Association and chair of the Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air. “Indiana is now a smoky island in the Midwest, surrounded by states such as Ohio, Michigan and Illinois, where lawmakers have stood up for their constituents and passed smokefree air laws. Hoosiers deserve nothing less.”
The news conference and commission hearing come on the heels of a new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that highlights nonsmokers’ exposure to secondhand smoke in the United States from 1999-2008. The report, featured in the September issue of the CDC’s Vital Signs, demonstrates that despite a significant drop in the levels of secondhand smoke exposure among nonsmokers from 1988-1991 (88 percent), between 2007-2008 more than 40 percent of nonsmokers, or 88 million people, were exposed to secondhand smoke in the United States.
Secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults, as well as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and a number of health conditions in children. Each year, more than 1,200 Indiana adult nonsmokers die from exposure to secondhand smoke. According to the report, smokefree laws that completely ban smoking in indoor workplaces and public places are needed to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke.
“The CDC report released yesterday is just further evidence that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that far too many people are exposed to the devastating health effects of secondhand smoke in the workplace,” said Patterson. “In today’s tough job market, workers do not have the option to leave their job in a smoky restaurant, bar or casino to find another. No one should have to choose between their job and their health.”
The Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air is committee to protecting all workers from exposure to secondhand smoke by working toward the adoption of a comprehensive smokefree workplace law that covers all workplaces. For information on the Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air, visit www.worksmokefree.com, become a fan on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/ASmokeFreeIN.