Great American Smokeout Highlights Smoke-Free Communities

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

The American Cancer Society will mark its 29th annual Great American Smokeout® by recognizing the growing number of smoke-free communities nationwide.

There are currently more than 2,000 smoke-free ordinances in effect across the country and many more are under consideration.

Additionally, smoke-free advocate Patrick Reynolds, grandson of tobacco magnate R.J. Reynolds, will speak in Chattanooga and Cleveland on Tuesday, Nov. 22. Reynolds will present “Tobacco Wars!” or “The Truth About Tobacco” during a luncheon, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

The luncheon is open to the public. Cost is $20 or $150 for tables of eight and registration is required. Call 209-5535 for more information, or E-mail Liz Jenkins at

In Cleveland, Reynolds will speak during an afternoon reception, which begins at 4:30 p.m. at Life Care Centers of America, 3570 Keith Street, Corporate Plaza – Professional Development Center. The event is open to the public, but reservations are required. To make a reservation, call Paula Petty at 728-7020, ext. 154.

In Tennessee, 43 municipal governments across the state have passed ordinances asking the state to restore control of tobacco issues to local communities. Under current law, local governments are prohibited from consideration of their own clean indoor air laws, tobacco taxes or fines for illegally selling tobacco products to minors.

The 43 communities which have passed resolutions are: Athens, Bolivar, Bradley County, Bristol, Brownsville, Cleveland, Clinton, Columbia, Cookeville, Covington, Crossville, Cumberland County, Dyer, Germantown, Gibson County, Hamilton County, Hardeman County, Haywood County, Humbolt, Huntington, Jackson, Johnson City, Knox County, Maury County, McKenzie, McNairy County, Medina, Memphis, Metro Nashville, Milan, Mountain City, Mumford, Murfreesboro, Perry County, Pigeon Forge, Putnam County, Rutherford County, Sevierville, Shelby County, Sumner County, Tipton County, Trenton and Wayne County.

“We applaud these communities for taking the lead in protecting public health from the dangers of secondhand smoke,” said Vangie Ruth, Health Initiatives representative for the American Cancer Society. “We hope this list continues to grow as elected officials strongly consider restoring local control of tobacco issues.”

Smoke-Free Facts at a Glance:
- Nationwide, more than 2,000 cities have smoke-free ordinances restricting exposure to secondhand smoke. In 1990, only 706 cities had enacted a smoke-free law.

- Fourteen states (Fla., Ny., Ct., Ma., Me., Ri., Vt., De., Nd., Sd., Mt., Id., Ut., Ca.) have enacted a statewide smoke-free law to protect workers.

- Eleven states, including Tennessee, are preemptive and have no statewide smoke-free law.

- Secondhand smoke is a health hazard that contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including over 60 carcinogens.

- Each year, about 3,000 nonsmoking adults die of lung cancer as a result of breathing secondhand smoke.

- Secondhand smoke causes an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 deaths from heart disease in people who are not current smokers annually.

Smoke-free polices that cover workplaces protect workers and patrons from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Neither ventilation systems nor nonsmoking sections can adequately protect people from exposure to the free-floating poisons of secondhand smoke.

Additionally, numerous economic studies show that comprehensive smoke-free policies do not have a negative impact on the hospitality industry or any other sector. In addition, smoke-free policies benefit businesses by decreasing absenteeism among non-smoking employees, reducing housekeeping and maintenance costs, lowering insurance rates and reducing smoking-related fires.

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