Vote to ban smoking in Summit County |

Vote to ban smoking in Summit County

Doug Malkan, SmokeFree Summit - Breckenridge

On Nov. 4, we have the chance to change Summit County in the most positive way. Through a year-long grassroots effort, SmokeFree Summit is on the upcoming ballot as Referred Question 1B.

Is there a health problem with second-hand smoke? We all have heard that second-hand smoke is bad. In fact, it is a serious cause of illness and death, and Summit County is not by some miracle immune.

Did you know second-hand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals including arsenic, formaldehyde, and hydrogen cyanide?

More than 60 chemicals in cigarettes have been identified as carcinogens.

Second-hand smoke is a Group A carcinogen, a substance known to cause cancer in humans and for which there is no safe level of exposure.

People have the right to smoke if they want to harm themselves, but they do not have the right to harm others.

It is air pollution like a smoke stack in the middle of the county, except it’s worse because the polluted air is confined to a small space with a high density of people.

The restaurant and bar industry in Summit County, like any industry, has an obligation to protect the health of their workers.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, exposure to second-hand smoke in restaurants is 160-200 percent higher than in smoking offices, and second-hand smoke levels in bars are 390-610 percent higher than in offices that permit smoking and 450 percent higher than in homes with a smoker.

Eighty-three percent of people in Summit County do not smoke.

Will our initiative hurt the economy? We are far from the first ones to do something about secondhand smoke. Many towns, cities and even five states have already gone smoke-free. Completely smoke-free Colorado communities already include Alamosa, Louisville, Snowmass, Pueblo and Fort Collins.

Colorado communities that have passed some form of smoking ordinance include Aspen, Boulder, Montrose, Pitkin County, Superior, Telluride.

Entirely smoke-free cities include New York, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco. States that have now gone entirely smoke free: New York, California, Delaware, Connecticut.

Tobacco companies claim that going smoke-free hurts the economy, but every peer-reviewed economic study that has been done on smoke-free towns, cities and states has shown the same thing – it does not harm the economy.

There are more than a hundred of such studies. In fact, in some places the restaurant and bar industry has done better. The state of New York now has a marketing campaign aimed at tourists that features the fact that they are now smoke-free.

Our initiative appears on the upcoming ballot as Referred Question 1B.

For information or to donate to the campaign visit our Web site at

Doug Malkan

SmokeFree Summit


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