A journal article published today by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that from 1999 to 2004 a number of states adopted strong restrictions on smoking in private workplaces, restaurants and bars.

In the article, published in the current edition of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC echoes the findings of two American Lung Association reports -- State of Tobacco Control 2004 and State Legislated Action on Tobacco Issues 2004 -- that graded and analyzed state tobacco control laws passed in 2004. The Lung Association reports found that a growing number of state and local governments are stepping up their efforts to enact strong tobacco control laws to protect people from exposure to secondhand smoke.

"The American Lung Association is encouraged by this trend. All workers deserve to work in a smokefree environment. People should not have to risk their health in order to make a living," said John L. Kirkwood, President and CEO of the American Lung Association.

"Importantly, none of the states with strong smokefree air laws have repealed or weakened those laws, showing these laws enjoy broad public support," said Kirkwood.

Currently, seven states -- California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New York and Rhode Island -- have laws that prohibit smoking in almost all public places and workplaces. And on September 1, Vermont will become the eighth state with such a law.

"The American Lung Association feels strongly that all states should follow the lead of these eight states and go smokefree," said Kirkwood.

In the states and cities that have passed smokefree air laws, the impact has been swift and significant. In 2002, New York City passed a smokefree air law and significantly raised its cigarette tax. The result was an astounding drop in smoking in New York City -- 188,000 people quit in the two years after the law went into effect.

Unfortunately, the CDC reports that half of all nonsmokers in this country still show evidence of exposure to secondhand smoke.

"Clearly, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Smokefree air campaigns currently are underway in the District of Columbia, Washington State, New Jersey, Michigan and many cities and communities throughout the country. The success of these campaigns will mean healthier, smokfree air for more American workers," said Kirkwood.

To see how your state measures up on smokefree air laws, go to: slati.lungusa. To sign the American Lung Association's petition to support smokefree communities, go to: lungaction/campaign/cia.

About the American Lung Association:

For 100 years, the American Lung Association has been the lead organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates continue to increase while other leading causes of death have declined.

The American Lung Association funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is "Improving life, one breath at a time."

For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or log on to lungusa.

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