Legislation aims to ban smoking in more public places

(Evening Sun -- Shane Dunlap)

(Evening Sun — Shane Dunlap)

It seems like ages ago that restaurants offered smoking and nonsmoking sections. Doubt many people miss eating sandwiches that taste like ashtrays.

Five years ago this month, former Gov. Ed Rendell signed into law the Clean Indoor Air Act, which eliminated smoking in most public places.

However, there are some exemptions — such as private social clubs, casinos and some bars — that allow patrons to smoke.

It’s become common knowledge secondhand smoke increases risks for illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease, in nonsmokers. However, the secondhand smoking debate is back on the table.

Rep. Mario Scavello, R-176th District, and the American Heart Association recently introduced legislation that aims to strengthen the state’s current Clean Indoor Air Act.

The new legislation would eliminate Act 27 exemptions that permit smoking so employees and the public aren’t exposed to the toxic air.

Exposure to secondhand smoke causes immediate adverse effects on heart function, blood platelets, inflammation, endothelial function and the vascular system, according to a news release from the American Heart Association. It also causes as many as 75,100 heart disease deaths and 128,900 heart attacks annually nationwide. Long-term exposure to second hand smoke, such as that occurring in a home or workplace, is associated with a 25 to 30 percent increased risk for coronary heart disease in adult nonsmokers.

A recent study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation found that smoke-free laws were associated with substantially fewer hospitalizations and deaths from heart and respiratory diseases.

For details about the American Heart Association’s grassroots advocacy efforts, visit www.yourethecure.org.

Want to quit? Check out these smoking cessation resources.

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2 Responses to Legislation aims to ban smoking in more public places

  1. Susan says:

    The pendulum is swing too far over again! I smoke, no suprise. Granted smokers have had free choice in the past. This does not mean that legislation now has to go to the opposite end of the extreme does it? Designated smoking areas would be preferable in all instances. It’s very infuriating to go to a restaurant, have to sit at a bar area to smoke. Meanwhile people are boozing it up! That destroys families and lives. Then, when you ask a person if you can sit somewhere near them if they mind you smoking while they eat and have a beer, they do mind! EXCUSE ME!! Bad for your body. I totally hate the alcohol! Can’t make them stop drinking! Abortion issue has the same problem. Too many birth control methods available and we are still killing babies. Not a healthy for the Mom, death sentence for the baby. Sick and tired of smokers being penalized. Let’s not even get into people hooked on legal or illegal drugs!

  2. Barbara Kovacs says:

    I have been to other states where smoking is prohibited in bars, restaurants etc., and it is so pleasant. Smokers there seem to have adopted the changes and follow the laws. I would like to see stronger CIA regs that prohibit smoking in multi-housing units, especiallly government subsidized housing. It is unjust for non-smokers, and in particular those with respiratory illnesses, to be subjected to unwanted smoke from others smoking in their units. I have seen research indicating smoke travels through ductwork and other openings up to 5 units away, impacting the health of those who you might not even know or see.

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