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
"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
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 (http://www.no-smoke.org).
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
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