Letter: Reject bill permitting cigar bars

Published:

 

The Clean Indoor Air law was passed in 2005 by the Washington voters to protect all workers from secondhand smoke. It passed with a 65 percent approval, and it passed in all 39 counties. It left no room for doubt that our state wants to protect the health of all workers.

Now, just eight years later, legislators in Olympia are attempting to undo this vote with a cigar bar bill exempting the cigar bars from the Clean Indoor Air law. If passed, SB 5070 would allow smoking in 100 bars/restaurants "cigar lounges" and 500 tobacco shops. It will also increase exposure to secondhand smoke, which increases the risk for coronary heart disease and cancer of the oral cavity, larynx, esophagus and lung, among other chronic diseases.

Every employee deserves a safe workplace, which includes one free of secondhand smoke. Considering our weak economy, no employee should be forced to choose between her health or a job. Please urge your representatives to remember that the citizens of Washington state already spoke loud and clear by passing the Clean Indoor Air law. Leave a message for your senator asking him or her to vote "no" on SB 5070 by calling 1-800-562-6000.

Jennifer Kampsula Wong

Vancouver