American Lung Association supports a smoke-free workplace |

American Lung Association supports a smoke-free workplace

Sarah Davis, American Lung Association, Denver

The American Lung Association of Colorado (ALAC) supports Summit County residents in their efforts to pass a smoke-free workplace ordinance that would protect workers in the unincorporated parts of Summit County from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

More than 20 years of scientific data document the dangers of secondhand smoke. It contains many of the same poisonous and cancer-causing chemicals that smokers inhale, including more than 40 that are known to cause cancer.

Secondhand smoke is not only an annoyance, but is the third-leading cause of death in Colorado. It is classified as a Group A carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Other Group A carcinogens include asbestos and radon. They are proven to cause cancers in humans and have no safe exposure levels. Secondhand smoke causes more deaths each year than all of the regulated chemical work hazards, combined.

Restaurant and bar workers are especially impacted. They inhale enough

secondhand smoke during their shifts to suffer the same health effects as pack-a-day smokers. Workers who are exposed to smoke on the job are 34 percent more likely to get lung cancer. Bar workers are exposed to levels of secondhand smoke that are 4 1/2 times that found in a smoker’s home.

ALAC encourages Summit County residents to vote yes on County Referred Question 1B Nov. 4.

Your vote also shows your town councils that you believe all workers have the right to work in an environment free of cancer-causing chemicals. No one should have to choose between their health and a paycheck.

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