Nov 19, 2009

Celebrate Great American Smokeout by urging lawmakers to take up the workplace smoking ban

Today is the American Cancer Society's 34th Annual Great American Smokeout, and all over the country people are giving themselves a break from the deadly habit of smoking, at least for a day.

You can further celebrate the Great American Smokeout by calling Michigan lawmakers and asking them to allow a vote on the workplace smoking ban. Michigan is one of the dirty 13 states that does not have a smoking ban in place to protect those of us who do not smoke against the effects of deadly secondhand smoke.

You can call or write your Senator or Representative directly, or you can 888-NOW-I-CAN to be transferred directly to your lawmaker's office. The toll free number is part of the Campaign for Smokefree Air’s “Act Now or Forever Hold Your Breath” grassroots campaign launched last month aimed at refocusing lawmakers’ attention back to protecting Michigan residents from the deadly impact of secondhand smoke.

The House passed House Bill 4377 in May with bipartisan support, but the Republican controlled Senate refuses to take it up, despite some 70 percent of Michigan residents supporting it.

The Great American Smokeout traditionally takes place on the third Thursday in November. The concept dates from the early '70s when Lynn Smith, publisher of the Monticello Times of Minnesota, announced the first observance and called it "D Day." The idea caught on in state after state until in 1977, it went nationwide under the sponsorship of the American Cancer Society. If past Smokeouts are any indication, as many as one-third of the nation's 46 million smokers could be taking the day off from smoking.

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