This letter is in response to Jennifer Learn-Andes’ article “The smoking conundrum: Bars, restaurants — and patrons — navigate 2008 state law.”
When Pennsylvania enacted the Clean Indoor Air Act nearly a decade ago, it was a step in the right direction. But let’s not forget the thousands of Pennsylvanians who are exposed to a dangerous and smoke-filled workplaces because of the exemptions.
As the article points out, the playing field is far from level — for businesses, patrons and workers alike.
Now that nearly a decade has passed, I believe we can do the right thing and end these loopholes. In fact, voters agree. A recent poll conducted by the American Heart Association reveals 71 percent of voters favor prohibiting smoking inside all workplaces, including casinos, bars and all areas of a restaurant.
All surveys of those health outcomes known to be affected by smoking, whether it be lung cancer, heart disease, stroke or others, consistently show the devastating impact of smoking, even secondhand smoke, on our friends, families and neighbors. Most businesses would probably recover from an across the board ban on smoking in areas of public accommodation, but most of our neighbors who get sick from smoking won’t.
State Sens. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery/Bucks, and State Rep. Matt Baker, R-Tioga County, will be introducing companion legislation to end the exemptions and bring Pennsylvania in line with most other state clean indoor air laws. If you agree all workers deserve to be protected from secondhand smoke, call your lawmakers and tell them you support these bills.
Alfred S. Casale, M.D.