Sting Cities to Receive Awards for Obeying Tobacco Laws
February 5, 2003
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In celebration of the fifth anniversary of smoke-free bars in California, the American Lung Association of the East Bay (ALA) is recognizing 14 cities in Contra Costa and others across the state for outstanding compliance with the California Smoke-Free Workplace Law.
The "Golden Lung" awards will be given to cities that achieved a rate of at least 85% compliance in smoke-free bars and all other workplaces. Antioch, Brentwood, Clayton, Danville, Hercules, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, Orinda, Pinole, San Ramon and Walnut Creek achieved 96-100% compliance. El Cerrito and Concord are being recognized for 85-95% compliance. The awards will be distributed at the Contra Costa Mayor's Conference on February 6. Fewer than 100 cities are being recognized by ALA's BREATH, the California Smokefree Bars, Workplaces and Communities program. Contra Costa cities will be the first to receive the awards.
"Contra Costa's cities have been leaders for more than a decade in protecting our residents from the impact of secondhand smoke. These awards recognize that outstanding leadership and a commitment to health," says Denice Dennis, Manager of the County's Tobacco Prevention Project.
Dennis says in the 1980's, Contra Costa cities were among the first in the nation to restrict smoking in restaurants. On January 1, 1998, California became the first state in the country to prohibit indoor smoking in nightspots, bars, restaurants with bars, and gaming clubs on a statewide basis.
"Bars and restaurants in our state have worked with health departments and law enforcement to create workplaces that are good for health and good for business," said Dian Kiser, Co-Director of BREATH.
According to Kiser, more than 94% of all California workers are protected on the job from the deadly carcinogens in secondhand smoke, compared to only 33% a decade ago before the law went into effect.
Recently, two Field Research Institute Surveys for the California Department of Health Services showed overwhelming support for smoke-free bars by bar owners and bar managers. According to the polls, 70% of bar owners and employees in California prefer to work in smoke-free environments and 80% of bars patrons agree that smoke-free dining and drinking establishments are important to their health.
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- Charlotte Dickson