By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Friday, February 18th, 2011 at 6:28 pm in California State Senate.
State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, has introduced legislation that would close loopholes in workplace smoking rules and effectively banning lighting up anywhere on the job.
Exemptions in the existing state law allow smoking in certain areas of a hotel/motel lobby and meeting and banquet rooms, retail or wholesale tobacco shops, warehouses, breakrooms, businesses with five or fewer employees and other specified locations.
California already has among the most stringent anti-smoking laws in the country.
Senate Bill 575 would end the exemptions and prohibit all smoking in the workplace.
Read on for DeSaulnier’s news release:
DeSaulnier Introduces Legislation to Eliminate Workplace Smoking
Senate Bill 575 Closes Loopholes in California Law that Expose Workers to Second Hand Smoke
While once the leader in protecting workers from the toxic effects of secondhand smoke, California has fallen far behind. This is due to the exemptions and loopholes in California’s Smoke-Free Workplace law. Because of these loopholes thousands of California workers and patrons of certain businesses continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke. To protect those workers and patrons, Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) today introduced SB 575 to eliminate loopholes in the state’s Smoke-Free Workplace law.
“California workers should not be exposed to secondhand smoke and the health risks associated with it,” said DeSaulnier. “They go to work to earn an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, not to breathe in carcinogens. It is time to bring California’s once-groundbreaking Smoke-Free Workplace law into the 21st Century.”
“Californians are rightfully proud of the fact that we led the effort to make workplaces smoke-free so they are surprised to learn that the states that followed in our footsteps have now lapped us in providing stronger protections for workers,” said Alecia Sanchez, Director of State Legislative Advocacy, American Cancer Society, California Division. “Twenty-four states have received the 100% smoke-free designation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sadly, California is not among them. This bill will correct that.”
“The American Heart Association has long advocated for smoke-free workplace ordinances at the state and local levels,” said Dr. Charlie Shaeffer, American Heart Association advocate. “Secondhand smoke kills an estimated 38,000 Americans annually, 35,000 of which are from heart disease. By closing the loopholes in California’s current law, it can help decrease a nonsmoker’s risk of heart disease,” continued Dr. Shaeffer.
“It’s time for California to close the loopholes on dangerous secondhand smoke in the workplace ,” said Jane Warner, President and CEO for the American Lung Association in California. “There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and people exposed increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent,” according to the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2006 report on secondhand smoke.
Exemptions in the Smoke-Free Workplace law allow smoking in certain areas of a hotel/motel lobby and meeting and banquet rooms, retail or wholesale tobacco shops, warehouses, breakrooms, businesses with five or fewer employees and other specified locations. SB 575 would remove those exemptions thereby prohibiting smoking in those workplaces. This bill is co-sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association.