Our Smoke-Free Workplaces bill made tremendous progress towards becoming a statewide law this legislative session. This policy passed out of the Senate and received support from over one thousand Alaskan businesses and organizations. We were making our way through the House, but unfortunately the bill stalled in committee.
While we missed a great opportunity this session with the stalling of Senate Bill 1, we still have another chance to pass smoke-free indoor workplace legislation this calendar year. We expect the Governor to announce a special session soon where legislators will have another chance to pass legislation to make Alaska a safer state to live in and visit. With that being said, we still have time. But your support is desperately needed.
If you haven’t expressed your support for smoke-free indoor workplaces yet, please do so here.
Making sure all indoor workplaces are smoke-free will protect ALL Alaskan employees from unwanted secondhand smoke exposure and will create a standard for healthy business practices for the entire state. There are too many workers in Alaska unprotected from dangerous secondhand smoke.
We are losing 53,800 people each year due to secondhand smoke** exposure. Children are at significant risk to many acute and chronic diseases as a result of secondhand smoke exposure.
One such person is Monica Lettner, a musician whose livelihood and career depend on working in bars and restaurants where, in some parts of Alaska, smoking is still allowed.
“I was a smoker once upon a time, but I believed then as I do now, that no one should have to be an involuntary smoker,” said Lettner. “I’m also a professional musician. I sing and play guitar, solo and with a band, and I coach young girls aspiring to be rock artists as well.”
“Musicians live gig to gig, and play wherever they are invited, mostly in bars,” Lettner explained. “Not only can we not choose to not play in smoky bars and still survive, but we also breathe in much more air than our listeners sitting on their barstools. We breathe secondhand smoke for hours a night simply to do our jobs. Now I’m lucky to be protected when I play at home in Anchorage, but almost anywhere else in the state, I’m back to secondhand smoking.
I’m passionate about music and want to encourage young people to pursue rock music, but I also want them to be safe and healthy wherever they have to play in our state. Senate Bill 1 would protect my health and theirs now and into the future,” Lettner said.
All Alaskans have the right to breathe smoke-free air. We hope we can count on you in crunch time.
**This number is based on the midpoint numbers for heart disease deaths (48,500), lung cancer deaths (3,000), and SIDS deaths (2,300) as calculated in the 1997 California EPA Report on Secondhand Smoke.