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Up in Smoke: Report Debunks Smoking Ban Myths

July 23, 2008

Richmond, VA - Some recent discoveries are clearing the air in the smoking ban discussion in Virginia. The World Health Organization (WHO) compiled more than 900 studies and government reports on smoking bans around the world. They appear to have put an end to a common misconception about smoking bans.

Cathleen Grzesiek, with the American Heart Association in Virginia, says the effort disproved the claim that smoking bans hurt business.

"There are studies with economic data, including objective evidence, that show smoke-free workplace laws have no impact, or even do have a positive impact, on business."

According to the WHO study, bans protect the health of non-smokers by decreasing exposure to second-hand smoke, and also encourage smokers not to smoke. Gresiek says Virginia is behind the curve on the issue.

"The World Health Organization is saying entire countries should go smoke-free, and we can't even get our state to pass a law to go smoke-free."

Virginia killed legislation again this year to ban smoking in restaurants and most other indoor public places.

Smoke-free laws already have been enacted in 24 states and hundreds of localities, including neighboring Maryland and Washington, D.C. Grzesiek says similar laws have an uphill battle in Virginia because many tobacco companies are based in the state and some Virginians still grow tobacco as a crop.

The full report from the World Health Organization is available at .

Jaclyn Piermarini/Steve Powers, Public News Service - VA