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San Antonio to be latest Texas city with smoke-free workplaces

Released by the Smoke-Free Texas:

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio will soon become the latest Texas city to implement a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance providing workers, residents and visitors protection from the dangers of secondhand smoke in all indoor workplaces. The City Council approved the ordinance at its Thursday meeting by a vote of seven to four.

"This is a significant milestone for San Antonio workers, citizens and visitors," said Suzanne Lozano, Smoke-Free San Antonio Coalition chair. "Supporters worked hard for San Antonio citizens' right to breathe clean indoor air. The passage of this ordinance shows the rest of Texas that San Antonio values the health of its workers and residents." 

San Antonio joins 30 other Texas cities including Houston, Austin and Dallas that already passed comprehensive smoke-free workplace ordinances. Until today, San Antonio was the largest city in Texas without a comprehensive city-wide smoke-free ordinance. Now, the 1.4 million citizens in San Antonio, the nation's seventh largest city, will be protected from secondhand smoke in all indoor workplaces including bars and restaurants.

The new comprehensive smoke-free ordinance in San Antonio provides momentum for the next Texas Legislative Session that begins in January.

"A statewide law that stops smoking in all indoor workplaces will allow all 25 million Texas citizens to breathe clean air," said Melinda Little, co-chair for the Smoke-Free Texas Coalition. "A comprehensive smoke-free workplace law would free every Texan from the burden of choosing between their health and their paycheck."

Studies on smoke-free cities throughout Texas prove that comprehensive ordinances improve air quality without adversely impacting businesses. For example, a study in Austin by researchers at the University of Texas Engineering College and the Texas State Department of Health showed that the city's comprehensive ordinance improved air quality within only a few months after implementation. In addition, Houston's smoke-free ordinance that took effect in September 2007 had no adverse impact on restaurant or mixed beverage sales in its first nine months, according to a 2009 analysis of sales taxes.

"San Antonio has clearly made the right decision in providing smoke-free workplaces for its workers, residents and visitors," said Little. "This is a huge step forward in the effort to pass a comprehensive statewide smoke-free workplace law where all in Texas can breathe clean indoor air."

Smoke-Free Texas is a broad coalition of organizations who believe all Texas workers have the right to breathe clean air. Because science tells us that secondhand smoke kills, we support a statewide law to protect Texans from the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure in the workplace. Our members include the  American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans for Non-Smokers' Rights, March of Dimes, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, LIVESTRONG and the Texas Parent Teacher Association.

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