DeSaulnier Anti-Smoking Bill Passes Committee

Today the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee passed SB 575, which is sponsored by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, who represents the Seventh Senate District, which includes Antioch and most of Contra Costa County. The bill is designed to eliminate loopholes in the state’s smokefree workplace law.

While once the leader in protecting workers from the toxic effects of secondhand smoke, California has fallen far behind, according to DeSaulnier. Because of loopholes, thousands of California workers and patrons of certain businesses continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke.

“It is time to bring California’s once ground-breaking smokefree workplace law into the 21st Century,” said DeSaulnier. “Twenty-five states have surpassed California’s law and we should be ashamed. This bill will bring us up to par with other states”

SB 575 would remove the current exemptions in the smokefree workplace law that allow smoking in certain areas of a hotel/motel lobby and meeting and banquet rooms, warehouses, break rooms, businesses with five or fewer employees, owner-operated businesses and other specified locations.

“Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in United States,” said Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord). “Californians go to work to earn an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, not to breathe in toxic air. Yet, one in seven members of the workforce continues to be exposed to secondhand smoke at work. This bill helps assure a healthy workplace for all Californians.”

This bill is co-sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, and the Health Officers Association of California. It will next be sent to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration.

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