Sante Fe (NM) Votes 7-0 to Go Smokefree
Law to take effect in 30 days
On Wednesday, the Santa Fe City Council voted 7-0 in favor of comprehensive smokefree workplace legislation. Sante Fe, the capital of New Mexico, will require most workplaces, including bars, restaurants, and the outdoor-dining areas of restaurants to be smokefree.
"Yahoo," City Councilor Patti Bushee, the bill's primary sponsor, said following the vote. For years, the councilor said, she has received a steady stream of messages from entertainers and hospitality workers complaining about secondhand smoke in bars and restaurants.
Working with a health group called the Santa Fe Tobacco Free Coalition, Bushee promoted the bill as a matter of worker's rights. The three-term councilor said she was amazed no one spoke in opposition of the bill Wednesday. "Let's all go out and dance in a smoke-free environment," she said.
Santa Fe joins Edgewood, Roswell and Doña Ana County as municipalities in New Mexico that require clean indoor air at most workplaces, including bars and restaurants. Albuquerque has smokefree restaurants but makes an exception for stand-alone bars.
Sante Fe's legislation also requires buildings be smokefree within 25 feet of their entrances.
Prior to the vote, a stream of about two dozen teens, advocates and medical professionals voiced their support for the proposal. They set the room awash in statistics and studies. Some also gave heart-rending accounts of their own battles with tobacco smoking.
Fifty-two-year-old Cindi Quirk told the council how smoking led to throat cancer that nearly killed her in 2002. She held the mask doctors would place over her face and bolt to a table while she received daily radiation treatments for two months. The mask is a reminder of the pain she endured.
"I thought I lost my soul," she told a reporter. She said she is encouraged by the council's willingness to adopt the law. She said she is also encouraged that a greater awareness over the dangers of smoking has developed since her youth.
To send a letter in support of smokefree air where you live, go to www.smokefree.net/alerts.php