American Lung Association Applauds Speaker Pelosi's Smokefree Capitol Decision
The following is a
statement by John Kirkwood, president and CEO of the American Lung
Association, on Speaker Pelosi's Smokefree Capitol Decision:
The American Lung Association commends House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for
her decision to make the Speaker's Lobby of the U.S. Capitol smoke free.
The decision to make the U.S. Capitol, the symbol of our nation's
democracy, smokefree is both an important public health victory and a
symbolic decision. By making the Speaker's Lobby smokefree, Speaker Pelosi
has ended the days of smoke-filled rooms.
In November, the American Lung Association submitted a petition with
over 7,000 signatures from citizens from throughout the country calling on
congressional leaders to make our Capitol 100 percent smokefree. To date,
almost 9,000 people have signed the petition. The U.S. Surgeon General
released a report in June of 2006 that found there is no safe level of
exposure to secondhand smoke and that secondhand smoke causes premature
death and disease in those who are exposed to it.
No one, including people who work on Capitol Hill, should have to
breathe secondhand smoke as a condition of employment. Last year, the
American Lung Association launched the Smokefree Air 2010 challenge calling
on state and local governments to protect everyone from secondhand smoke no
later than 2010. Sixteen states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia
have passed comprehensive smokefree air laws.
Last week, the District of Columbia's smokefree air law went into
effect, making virtually every workplace in the city smokefree -- except
those controlled by Congress. With her announcement today, Speaker Pelosi
has ensured that Members of Congress, staff, pages, reporters and visitors
to the Speaker's Lobby will no longer be exposed to the dangers of
secondhand smoke in the Capitol. Her action demonstrates to the American
people that Congress is playing by the same set of rules as everyone else.
The American Lung Association encourages Speaker Pelosi, Majority
Leader Reid and other congressional leaders to extend the smokefree rule to
include all office buildings. Smoking is still allowed in private and
committee offices, based on each Member's discretion, and in designated
smoking rooms adjacent to two cafeterias.
Members of Congress and others interested in quitting smoking can
contact the American Lung Association's Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNG-USA and
speak with a registered nurse or respiratory therapist or visit