Hospital CEO supports 'take it outside' legislation

I have watched the smoke-free campaign make significant ground over the last several years. As a healthcare professional, I would be remiss if I didn’t support a proposed law that would prohibit smoking in all indoor workplaces, businesses and public places. Of course the reason this legislation is being proposed is to prevent non-smokers from being exposed to second hand smoke. We now have plenty of science to support the fact that second hand smoke is dangerous. Just look up The Health Consequences of Smoking report. It’s all there; I don’t need to recite facts and figures as we all now know that smoking is a major threat to our public health.

I know we do things differently up here in Alaska and don’t want or need anyone telling us what to do. Asking people to “take it outside” is a reasonable compromise to protect other people’s health from the effects of second hand smoke. Much of Alaska has already adopted similar smoke-free laws but many areas remain in Alaska where they do not have health powers to enact such a law. The legislation introduced doesn’t prohibit smokers from being hired or anything like that. They will just have to “take it outside” and away from an entrance or air intake.

We have enacted a smoke-free campus policy at our hospital and it was received well upon implementation. I suspect businesses that will be required to go smoke-free under the proposed legislation will enjoy the same results. People will thank you, just as they did at our hospital. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, it’s a health issue. Please support House Bill 360 and Senate Bill 209.

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