The American Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control 2014,” its 12th annual report, tracks yearly progress on key tobacco control policies, assigning grades based on whether laws are adequately protecting citizens from the enormous toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy. Nevada received a grade of “C” on the report card in the category of smokefree air, due to its exemption that leave tens of thousands of Nevada’s workers unprotected.
The report comes as the United States marks the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s Report on smoking. According to the report released last week, smoking rates have dropped from 43% in 1964 to 18% and Members of the Citizens for Clean Indoor Air Coalition celebrate the enormous progress that has been made in reducing the toll of tobacco use.
The Surgeon General’s Report and the American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control Report Card draw attention to the work that is still to be done, however:
Tobacco today is deadlier and more addictive than tobacco of 50 years ago. This is due to the tobacco industry's efforts to increase the amount of highly-addictive nicotine in their products.
--Smoking now kills 480,000 Americans each year
--13 cancers are now linked to smoking and secondhand smoke
--Exposure to secondhand smoke is a cause of stroke
--Secondhand smoke has now been shown to cause stroke
--Smoking has now been shown to cause diabetes
--The cost to our economy in healthcare costs and lost productivity could be as much as $333 billion each year
The Coalition calls on city leaders to take strong action to close the loopholes in the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act to ensure that all indoor workplaces are smoke-free. Eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke is a critical step in the fight against what is still the nation’s number one cause of preventable death.
More than 3,000 Mesquite residents and over 70 businesses and organizations have signed on in support of protecting everyone from exposure to secondhand smoke in indoor places. The Citizens for Clean Indoor Air Coalition calls on city leaders to support
a comprehensive smoke- free ordinance that covers all indoor workplaces, including casinos.
A third of Mesquite’s workforce are left unprotected by the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act – and Mesquite’s leaders have the power to change that. “I would have days when I worked in the casino that I would get up and my lungs hurt so bad, I could barely breathe. Everyone deserves to work in a clean, safe environment, no matter what their profession,” said Alecia Sibio, a Citizens for Clean Indoor Air Coalition member and current Ms. Senior Mesquite.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and at least 69 that cause cancer. Secondhand smoke is proven to cause lung cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses and is responsible for about 50,000 deaths each year in the U.S. “As a physician, I am committed to the health of the individuals in our community. Smoke is unhealthy for anyone to breathe and doesn’t belong in our workplaces,” said Dr. Mike Gorman, D.O., owner and family physician of Direct Primary Care or Mesquite. The Surgeon General and numerous studies have also found that smoke-free laws protect health without hurting business.
“Our country has made tremendous progress in reducing smoking. But it is unacceptable that tobacco still kills so many people, addicts so many children and places such a huge financial cost on our society,” said Allison Newlon-Moser, Executive Director of the American Lung Association in Nevada. “On the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s report, it is time for us to take strong action to end the tobacco epidemic. Eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace is a key step to achieving that, and we cannot afford to wait another 50 years.”
Citizens for Clean Indoor Air is a coalition of individuals, organizations, and businesses that believe everyone deserves to breathe clean air in indoor workplaces. The Coalition is working to eliminate exposure to the cancer-causing chemicals found in secondhand smoke in indoor workplaces in Mesquite. More information can be found at: www.SmokeFreeMesquite.org