Senator Laughlin takes Lead on Smokefree Air
June 26, 2019
After Representative Fred Keller resigned from the Pennsylvania legislature to take a Congressional post, the Clean Indoor Air Act needed a new voice in the state house. After reading about support from the statewide VFW, Senator Dan Laughlin stepped up to take a swing at closing the loopholes in the state’s current smokefree law. Senator Laughlin represents the Erie area and is invested in responding to the call from VFW leadership to require all clubs to be smokefree.
Laughlin’s announcement created new buzz in the state, including talk among his constituents who want a guarantee that smokefree casinos will be included in the measure.
VFW Front and Center
June 26, 2019
Leadership of the Pennsylvania VFW, including its State Commander, remain front and center on the effort to extend smokefree protections to all Pennsylvania residents. Brad Cary of the Breathe Free PA coalition has been working one-on-one with clubs across the state interested in voluntarily going smokefree. The trend continues as clubs look to expand their membership, attract non-smoking patrons, and create a family-friendly atmosphere.
Brad will join the ANR team to participate in the National VFW Conference this July in Orlando to spread the word that legislators are listening to the voices of veterans.
State Lawmaker to Champion Smokefree Air, Taking Note from Local VFW
The Pennsylvania Breathe Free Coalition has a new supporter in Representative Fred Keller of the 85th Pennsylvania House District. Rep. Keller has called on his colleagues to close the loopholes in the state’s Clean Indoor Air law that leave workers and patrons exposed to secondhand smoke in venues like bars, casinos, and even truck stops. People should not have to get sick breathing at work. Rep. Keller’s recent endorsement of a stronger smokefree law came in tandem with a local VFW post in his district announcing a smokefree policy for their club. As of April 1st, Selinsgrove VFW Post 6631 will be the latest veterans club to go smokefree, joining a growing list across the state. The Statewide Commander and VFW leaders are working closely with ANR Foundation and Breathe Free Pennsylvania to bring the message of smokefree air to their posts.
Pennsylvania is behind 20 other states and in neighboring states like Maryland, New York, with smokefree policies that protect the health of bar and casino workers and the public.
PRIDE in PA
Recognizing Big Tobacco’s targeting of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBTQ Resource Center took the message of smokefree air to the best pride events in the region to let the community shout it out, "we want smoke-free air" in the places they gather and want to feel out, proud and healthy!
88.8% of PA residents who identify as LGBTQ would be likely to go to a smokefree bar.
94% would be likely to go to a smokefree pride.
Members of the LGBTQ community are important supporters of the movement to ensure all workers and patrons are protected from secondhand smoke.
Veterans Support Smokefree Air
Pennsylvania State Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Former State Commander Dwight R. Fuhrman said:
"It is time for the state to end the smoking exemption for all facilities licensed by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, including all private clubs. The Pennsylvania VFW wants to improve the health of all veterans, their loved ones, and employees inside our clubs. Removing this exemption for all PLCB license holders will create an even playing field so there won’t be a competitive disadvantage for those clubs that become nonsmoking operations."
BREATHE FREE PA PUSHES FORWARD
SUPPORT WIDENS TO NARROW THE GAP IN SMOKEFREE PROTECTIONS
10 years after implementation – the current statewide smokefree law in Pennsylvania continues to leave thousands of workers unprotected in the more than 2,200 exempted venues including areas of restaurants, bars, private clubs and casinos.
Pennsylvania has the second largest state legislature in the country and moving successful public policy is incredibly challenging. That’s why new voices for smokefree air are more important than ever.
New supporters – individuals and key statewide organizations - are joining the movement. State Veterans of Foreign Wars and State AARP have both endorsed smokefree air for all Pennsylvanians and will work closely with the coalition to advance the cause.
YOU CAN HELP
If you are a resident or visitor of Pennsylvania or have a connection (family, business, tourism) to the Keystone State, we need to hear from you - your voice matters!
Please contact the Breathe Free Pennsylvania coalition for more information on how to get involved.