Letter to the Editor: Saving Utahns from Secondhand Smoke
We are writing to express our sincere gratitude to the Utah Legislature for their extraordinary move to save Utahns from the devastating effects of tobacco use. Senate Bill 19 amends the Indoor Clean Air Act to prohibit smoking in the workplace and provide protection for every member of Utah's workforce - including employees in bars, private clubs and taverns.
Currently, there are 11 U.S. states with comprehensive smoke-free policies and many more in the works. Utah was one of the first states to enact an Indoor Clean Air Act and now we are once again in the forefront in safeguarding our residents from the damaging effects of secondhand smoke.
With at least 69 known carcinogens, secondhand smoke is a public health issue. It is the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., causing an estimated 53,000 deaths annually, as cited by the American Heart Association and the Journal of American Medicine. We commend Senator Michael Waddoups for his efforts to protect every working Utahn, and his fellow legislators who joined him in this fight.
Banning smoking in the workplace is a health priority and not an issue of smokers' or business owners' rights. Simply put, we are improving our state's health.
We are thankful that all Utah employees can go to work confidentknowing they are safe from the dangers of secondhand smoke.