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Houston (TX) Votes 13-2 for Clean Indoor Air

Nation's 4th largest city joins growing smoke-free trend

Houston (TX), 10/18/06--  Today, the Houston City Council voted 13-2 for comprehensive smoke-free workplace legislation.  Beginning September 2007, virtually all Houston workplaces, including restaurants and bars, will be smokefree.  Houston joins New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston as big cities with strong clean indoor air laws.

Unlikely allies, such as Houston's Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO, and Restaurant Association, joined with health groups to push for today's legislation.

"It's a great day for Houston's workers," says Joe Cherner, founder of BREATHE (Bar and Restaurant Employees Advocating Together for a Healthy Environment).  "No one should have to breathe a cancer-causing substance to hold a job."

Houston is the nation's 4th largest city.


Garden City (KS) and Zionsville (IN) Go Smokefree

States, cities, and towns all over the U.S. are passing legislation to protect workers and customers from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke, such as cancer, heart disease, and breathing disorders.

Yesterday, Garden City (KS) Commissioners voted for clean indoor air in virtually all workplaces, including restaurants and bars.  The law also forbids smoking within 50 feet of the primary entrances to fraternal organizations, sports arenas, educational facilities, and public governmental assemblies.

Zionsville (IN) Councilmembers voted 4-1 in favor of a similar law.  Council member David Brown said, “I voted for this law because it is an idea whose time as come, not only in Indiana but nationwide.  Smoking in airplanes was eliminated 20 years ago and we look back on that now as pretty archaic. Someday, we’ll look back at this the same way,” he said.


France to Make Restaurants Smokefree

Nightclub and casino workers still forced to breathe smoke

France is preparing to clear the air in smoky restaurants and other public areas starting next year, the newspaper Le Figaro has reported.  The measure, which could be applied nationally from January 1, 2007, would bring France closer in line with Britain, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Sweden.

"It's going to happen" for France, too, the country's health minister, Xavier Bertrand, told Wednesday's edition of Le Figaro.

The newspaper said the government was planning a decree announcing the new law, but would exempt casinos, nightclubs, and tobacco shops.

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France Announces Plan to Go Smokefree

France will begin implementing a smokefree workplace law beginning next February, prime minister Dominique de Villepin announced in a television interview. Cafes, nightclubs, and restaurants will be given until January 2008 to comply, said Villepin.

"We started on the basis of a simple observation - two figures: 60,000 deaths a year in our country linked directly to tobacco consumption and 5,000 deaths linked to passive smoking.  "That makes more than 13 deaths a day. It is an unacceptable reality in our country in terms of public health," he said.

Mr. de Villepin added the state would take charge of one-third of the costs of anti-smoking treatments, such as a patch.  "That would represent the first month of treatment," he said.

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Fired Up to Quit - Seeing a Way Through that Nasty Smoking Habit

When Jim Franzen quit smoking in 1993, after 43 years as a smoker, it was his thirty-fifth attempt. Like many smokers who want to quit, Franzen, a Ventura resident and artist for the Disney Studios, had tried everything - nicotine chewing gum, the nicotine patch, even going it alone "cold turkey."

"I'm an alcoholic and I had given up alcohol," Franzen said, "but that was nothing compared to cigarettes. Booze is addictive, but it's not as portable as cigarettes. And even a drunk doesn't reinforce the habit as much as a smoker. The pack-a-day smoker gets four-hundred hits daily; no drug gets reinforced as much as that."

According to the Cancer Prevention Center at the University of California, San Diego, 46 million Americans--26 percent of the adult population--still smoke. Of those, current estimates show that over 80 percent would like to quit. And of the 2,500,000 smokers who attempted stopping in California in 1993, less than 10% succeeded.

It comes as no surprise to smokers who have tried to quit that the smoking "habit" is now widely recognized in medical and scientific literature as full-blown drug addiction. A common scenario of nicotine withdrawal symptoms includes irritability, anxiety, headaches, difficulty concentrating and memory loss, insomnia or an excessive need for sleep, inertia, increased appetite, weight gain, digestive changes, constipation, even depression.

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