To the Editor:
On May 17, the Steamboat Springs City Council passed an ordinance to protect the health and safety of Steamboat residents, workers and visitors. This ordinance provides some of the strongest protections from the hazards of secondhand smoke in Colorado. Steamboat's leadership on this issue is recognized and appreciated. We encourage the council to leave the ordinance as is, and not weaken its strong public health provisions.
The council's action on this important public health issue has made a powerful statement: Steamboat no longer will expose its residents, workers and visitors to the deadly effects of secondhand smoke. It is clear the council understands what research has clearly proven -- that secondhand smoke is not only dirty, but also deadly.
Although some would have us think that secondhand smoke is just an annoyance, more people are realizing that ensuring smoke-free public places is a critical health priority. Consider these facts:
Secondhand smoke is the third-leading cause of preventable death in Colorado and the nation. More than 53,000 Americans die every year from exposure to secondhand smoke.
The Environmental Protection Agency has classified secondhand smoke as a Group A carcinogen, for which there is no safe level of exposure.
Employees who are exposed regularly to secondhand smoke at work have a 50 percent increased risk of lung cancer.
We applaud the council for addressing this critical health issue and for its commitment to the health of the community. Reducing exposure to secondhand smoke is an excellent way to show that commitment.
Sarah Davis, Erin Bertoli
American Lung Association
American Heart Association
R.J. Ours, Pete Bialick
American Cancer Society
Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution
Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance