Sun & Smokefree Air: Hawaii Governor signs statewide smokefree law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2006
Contact: Cynthia Hallett, ANR Executive Director
Phone: (510) 841-3032
Web: www.no-smoke.org

 

Sun & Smokefree Air: Hawaii Governor signs statewide smokefree law

Berkeley, CA -- Governor Linda Lingle signed a landmark bill Monday making Hawaii the 18th state to enact a strong smokefree workplace law. Passed by the legislature in May, Act 295 will take effect November 16, 2006, corresponding with the Great American Smokeout.

"It was not long ago when we believed that non-smoking sections in restaurants or on airplanes were sufficient to keep secondhand smoke away from nonsmokers," said Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle. "Now that we have concrete research about the serious dangers of secondhand smoke and we know that tobacco is a leading cause of preventable death in Hawaii, it is critical that we do all we can to protect the health of our residents and visitors by providing public venues that are truly smokefree. Hawaii's new smokefree law will save lives. At the same time, we will continue to work with our community and health care partners to focus on preventing Hawaii youth from starting smoking."

Nearly 83% of Hawaii residents already live in a county with a strong 100% smokeree law for indoor workplaces or restaurants. The new statewide law strengthens existing local laws in the Aloha State to ensure that all indoor workplaces and public places are completely smokefree. The law extends protections to such places as Hawaii's offices, educational facilities, health care facilities, restaurants, bars, clubs, airports, hotel and motel lobbies, public transportation facilities, shopping malls, sports arenas, theaters, and areas 20 feet from entryways.

On June 27th, the U.S. Surgeon General released its landmark report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke. One of the report's major conclusions is that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and that even fancy ventilation systems and smoking rooms do not protect people from its health hazards. (For the full report, see http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/secondhandsmoke/)

According to Cynthia Hallett, Executive Director of Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, "The workers, visitors, and families in Hawaii will soon breathe a little easier, enjoying lower heart attack and cancer rates, thanks to the new smokefree law."

Deborah Zysman, Director of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii, said, "The people of Hawaii know that secondhand smoke exposure is a killer, so they asked lawmakers to take a stand. We are pleased the new law will now protect all workers, residents, and visitors in Hawaii from exposure to secondhand smoke."

Hallett added, "Hawaii has been a leader in smokefree air at the local level and is now recognized as one of the leading states actively protecting people's right to breathe air free of tobacco smoke in workplaces and public places. Service industry workers are not second-class citizens. This law puts everyone on equal footing with protection from secondhand smoke in the workplace."

As of July 1, 2006, 44.5% of the US population is protected from exposure to secondhand smoke by a strong local or state smokefree regulation. See the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation's smokefree lists and maps at http://www.no-smoke.org/goingsmokefree.php?dp=d13|p140.


Summary of Current Strong Smokefree U.S. State, District, and Commonwealth Laws

Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights is a national, member-based, not-for-profit organization based in Berkeley, CA that is dedicated to helping nonsmokers breathe smokefree air in enclosed public places and workplaces.

####