* * * 2011 SPECIAL BULLETIN FROM THE DESK OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR * * *
2011 has certainly started off with a bang. It has been the busiest January that I can remember in my 14 years here at ANR. While much of it is due to good smokefree campaigns that are underway, an equal amount is related to threats to existing smokefree laws or to projects and foundations dedicated to tobacco control and nonsmokers’ rights.
First, the good news: Twenty three states, 447 municipalities, two territories, and the District of Columbia have a strong 100% smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar law in effect, protecting 47.8% of the U.S. population. Savannah, GA, which boasts having the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world, went smokefree at noon on January 1, 2011. It is the first city in Georgia to enact and implement a 100% law since the weaker state law passed in 2005, and it has inspired several other cities around Georgia to begin local campaigns. Missouri cities continue to pass 100% laws, a dramatic increase from just five years ago when there were no strong 100% laws on the books. While I cannot reveal our big 2010 Smokefree Air Challenge award winners yet, let’s just say that we are thrilled to see so many contenders from Southern and Midwestern states in the running!
Several states (Mississippi, Kentucky, and Texas to name a few) have introduced bills for 100% smokefree workplaces. Each of these has a strong base of local laws on the books, which generally leads to greater success at the state level.
In addition, a bill will be introduced soon in California to close the loopholes in its workplace law and Oklahoma is running a strong preemption repeal campaign which, when successful, will open the doors to the passage of local laws.
Now, the bad news: There are attacks on a number of state laws, including a full repeal of the laws in Kansas and South Dakota (which was recently upheld by voters), a repeal of Illinois’ 2006 smokefree casino provisions, a rollback in Michigan to permit smoking rooms in almost any workplace, and a repeal of Minnesota’s bar provision. ANR has signed onto an amicus brief to protect North Carolina’s law.
Funding for tobacco control has already been cut in some states, and North Dakota and Indiana are currently facing similar attacks. In the past, successful attempts at diverting tobacco control funds resulted in a complete decimation of tobacco control prevention and program efforts, leaving a serious gap in prevention and cessation services and a lack of smokefree protections.
In addition, attorneys are asking a Florida state court judge to dissolve the Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute (FAMRI). The attorneys erroneously claim that FAMRI’s funded research and publications are misdirected and do not benefit the former class of non-smoking flight attendants. FAMRI was established as the result of a settlement of a 1991 class action brought by FAMRI Trustees Patty Young, Lani Blissard and other non-smoking flight attendants, and was settled in 1997. It just goes to show you, when it comes to the tobacco industry and its allies, there is no expiration date on these attacks.
ANR is here to help!
Rest assured that ANR and its team will work tirelessly to push those strong campaigns into the success category and fight the opposition to prevent any rollbacks or diversion of funding. We have highly skilled and dedicated staff working on the ground and from our home base to track and expose the opposition, assist our members and partners on the ground, and to educate the policy makers and the media about the benefits of smokefree air and the rights of nonsmokers.
How you can help:
Please contact us by phone at 510-841-3045 or email at email@example.com if you have any questions about information in this Bulletin. We couldn’t share all of the details here, and the situation changes daily, so please feel free to touch base. We love hearing from our members!
Many thanks for being a supporter of nonsmokers’ rights. We have accomplished a great deal since we began in 1976, and we could not have done it without you. You are the wind beneath our wings and we are truly grateful for your support and willingness to get involved. Here’s to another successful year (despite all the nasty attacks underway already)!
Cynthia Hallett, MPH
Join us on Facebook!
Watch for your Spring issue of UPDATE in March. It’s our 30th Edition!
Unsubscribe from receiving email, or change your email preferences.