For Immediate Release: Nov. 9, 2017
Contact: Dave Lemmon, 202-296-5469
Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In recognition of her unparalleled leadership in fighting tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke in New Orleans, the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund is proud to endorse Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell for mayor. The election is Nov. 18.
Councilwoman Cantrell demonstrated a strong commitment to protecting public health by sponsoring and leading the fight for the city’s comprehensive smoke-free law, which prohibits smoking inside all workplaces, including bars and casinos, in New Orleans. The City Council unanimously (7-0) passed the ordinance in January 2015. Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed the measure into law, which went into effect in April 2015.
“Thanks to the strong leadership of LaToya Cantrell, everyone in New Orleans now enjoys the right to breathe smoke-free air,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund. “By leading the fight to enact this law, Councilwoman Cantrell has been a true champion for her city. As mayor, she will continue to improve the health of all New Orleans residents, workers and visitors.”
For over two years, residents, workers and visitors have enjoyed all the Big Easy offers while breathing clean, smoke-free air. Employees in bars, music venues and other workplaces are protected from secondhand smoke while earning a paycheck. Polls have found New Orleans voters overwhelmingly approve of the law, and air quality studies show indoor pollution levels plummeted in the city’s bars and casino following enactment of the new policy.
Thanks to Councilwoman Cantrell’s perseverance, New Orleans set an important example for states and cities in the South, which lags behind the rest of the United States in protecting residents from secondhand smoke. In the United States, 25 states, Washington, D.C., and hundreds of cities have smoke-free laws that apply to all restaurants, workplaces and bars, protecting 58 percent of the U.S. population.
Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and at least 69 that cause cancer. The U.S. Surgeon General found that secondhand smoke causes lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke in adults, and serious respiratory illnesses, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) among children. Over 41,000 adult nonsmokers in the United States die from secondhand smoke exposure each year, and there is no safe level of exposure.
The Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund is a nonpartisan 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with, but separate from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The Action Fund works to reduce the devastating toll of tobacco use and secondhand smoke by mounting advocacy and electoral campaigns in support of policies that prevent and reduce tobacco use.