By Michael Waddoups
Utah State Senator, District 6
Utah was the first state in the nation to go "smoke free" when its indoor clean air act took effect in 1995. We prohibit smoking in restaurants, stores, bowling alleys and businesses, but exempt private clubs, taverns, guest rooms at hotels and motels as well as fraternal and religious organizations.
Since 1995, nine states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington) have enacted comprehensive, statewide smoke free laws. The 2006 legislative session in Colorado will introduce a comprehensive smoke free bipartisan bill. Arizona
both have ballot initiatives - to be voted on in November of 2006.
In the 2005 legislative session I sponsored a bill that would have removed the exemption of the 1995 Clean Air Act for private clubs, taverns, fraternal clubs and country clubs. The bill passed in the Senate but was thwarted in the House, even though we felt we were very close to the 38 votes necessary to pass it.In the 2006 Utah legislative session I will again introduce a bill (SB19) to protect workers and patrons right to breathe clean air.Secondhand smoke isn’t just annoying. It can kill you.
Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals and 69 known carcinogens including formaldehyde, lead, and arsenic. It’s been proven to cause lung cancer, heart disease and serious respiratory illnesses. Thousands of Americans die each year from second-hand smoke.Don’t smoke? You still pay.
Each household in Utah pays $505 per year to meet the state and federal tax burden from smoking-caused government expenditures.
Supporters of this bill include club owners, employees of bars and taverns, The American Heart Association, The American Lung Association, Smoke Free Utah, and, most importantly, thousands of Utah citizens.
This policy will pay big dividends in saved lives, better use of tax dollars, and a healthier state. I sincerely hope my colleagues in the house and senate will support this legislation.