December 8, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Annie Tegen
Phone: (206) 235-3665

Washington State Voters Approve Smokefree Workplaces

Seattle, Washington - Today, the voter-approved smokefree law takes effect in Washington State. The new law makes all indoor workplaces and public places 100% smokefree. Washington becomes the tenth state with strong smokefree protections, and joins New York, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Rhode Island in having smokefree air in all workplaces, including all restaurants, and bars. Last month, voters across Washington approved the law at the ballot with 64% support. The initiative enjoyed broad support, passing in every county statewide.

"Washington voters spoke out on Election Day, demanding smokefree indoor air across the state. Starting today, all Washington residents, workers, and visitors will finally enjoy 100% smokefree air in all indoor workplaces and public places," said Annie Tegen, Senior Program Manager with Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights.

"Today is a monumental day for public health in Washington State," said Michael O'Sullivan, Government Relations Director of the American Cancer Society. "Initiative 901 is a common sense public health measure that will help ensure people's right to breathe air that is free from secondhand smoke's toxic chemicals."

The new law enjoys popular support with the public, employees, state and national health, social, and business organizations, including the endorsement of more than a dozen newspapers throughout the state.

"This is a significant victory for worker health. Today, Washington State demonstrates it is a leader in public health," said Tegen. "When workers punch in today, they no longer have to worry about exposure to secondhand smoke. We are all breathing easier today, knowing lives will be saved here in Washington thanks to the new smokefree law."

Nationally, more than 5,700 municipalities now have smokefree workplaces by a local or statewide law; and, as of today, more than 39% of the U.S. population lives in an area with a smokefree workplace law, often including restaurants and bars.

Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights is a national, member-based, not-for-profit organization based in Berkeley, CA dedicated to helping nonsmokers breathe smokefree air in enclosed public places and workplaces.

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