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Lung Association Applauds Washington State Voters for Approving Strong Smokefree Air Law


New York, NY (Nov. 9, 2005) – Voters in Washington State overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative on Tuesday that will prohibit smoking in almost all public places and workplaces throughout the state, including restaurants, bars and non-tribal casinos. The new law was approved 63 to 37 percent, carrying every county in the state, and will go into effect on December 8, 2005.

“Washington State voters are to be applauded for making the right public health choice and protecting workers and patrons from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke,” said John L. Kirkwood, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “This ballot box victory represents a major step forward in the fight against the nation’s continuing tobacco epidemic.”

Washington State now becomes the ninth smokefree state, joining the ranks of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Smokefree states prohibit smoking in most workplaces, including all restaurants and bars.

Workers in restaurants and bars will especially benefit from the decision of Washington State voters. Levels of secondhand smoke in restaurants and bars are approximately 1.6 times greater and 7.6 times greater, respectively, than in office workplaces, and food service workers have a 50 percent greater risk of dying from lung cancer than the general population.

“The American Lung Association is encouraged to see more states adopting smokefree air laws. These measures are critical in the fight to reduce the estimated 38,000 deaths among nonsmokers each year linked to exposure to secondhand smoke,” said Kirkwood.

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


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