The Days of Smoke-Filled Rooms in the United States Capitol are Over

New Smokefree Policy Will Protect Congressional Staff and Visitors from

Secondhand Smoke

Jan 10, 2007, 00:00 ET from Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights

    SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an historic move,
 new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Jan. 10 that, effective
 immediately, there will be a new smokefree policy for the Speaker's Lobby,
 a key meeting area for members of Congress just off the Floor of the House
 of Representatives.
     "As members of Congress, we must be held to a higher standard," Pelosi
 said in a statement. "We can no longer risk the health of colleagues,
 staff, pages, reporters and others who pass through the Speaker's Lobby
 each day."
     Although the District of Columbia has a new smokefree workplace law
 that took effect this month, it does not apply to the Capitol.
     In view of the recent report issued by the Office of the Surgeon
 General reaffirming that secondhand smoke is a leading cause of heart
 disease and cancer in nonsmokers and that there is no safe level of
 exposure, it is more important than ever that members of Congress, their
 staff, and visitors be provided with smokefree air in the Capitol.
     "On behalf of all nonsmokers, we applaud Speaker Pelosi for her
 leadership. People in the Capitol deserve the same smokefree protections as
 other workers in the District of Columbia. Smokefree air in the workplace
 is no longer just a California trend -- it is a national expectation," said
 Cynthia Hallett, executive director of the California-based non-profit
 group Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights (
     Smokefree air is the national norm. More than 50 percent of the U.S.
 population now lives in an area with a local or statewide law ensuring
 smokefree protections in workplaces and public places. More than 577
 municipalities and 22 states now have smokefree workplace laws, according
 to the ANR Foundation, the national repository for smokefree and other
 tobacco-related laws.
     In another historic milestone, the majority of state capitol buildings
 are now smokefree as of Jan. 1. Statehouses in Jackson, Miss., Little Rock,
 Ark., Indianapolis, Ind., Topeka, Kansas, and Nashville, Tenn. are among
 the 27 that are now smokefree.
     Hallett said, "We hope Congress will now finish the job by extending
 smokefree protections throughout the entire Capitol including private
 offices and the cafeteria."

SOURCE Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights