CONTACT: State Senator Dan Grossman
Statewide Smoking Ban Legislation Introduced
Colorado Political and Business Leaders Join Health Organizations to Support Passage of the Smoke-Free Bill
(DENVER) – State Senators Dan Grossman (D-Denver) and Jim Isgar (D-Hesperus) joined House cosponsors State Representatives Gary Lindstrom (D-Breckenridge) and Mark Larson (R-Cortez) at the State Capitol on Wednesday to introduce the bipartisan “Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act,” which would ban smoking in public indoor places and workplaces statewide, including bars and restaurants. The measure is designed to protect both customers and employees while creating economic equity for Colorado businesses.
“This legislation accomplishes the dual objectives of upholding the public health principle that indoor places where people congregate should be smoke-free, while also ensuring a level economic playing field for Colorado businesses,” said Grossman, the bill’s Senate sponsor. “With the broad-based support demonstrated today from municipalities, the business community and numerous health advocacy organizations, we are optimistic this legislation will pass.”
In the absence of a strong state law, the trend has been for Colorado municipalities to regulate indoor smoking on their own, creating wide disparities between jurisdictions that confuse consumers and create competitive disadvantages for affected businesses.
This legislation seeks to provide a uniform, statewide law creating smoke-free indoor public places and workplaces, including restaurants and bars; however, the smoking ban would not apply to private homes or vehicles, hired limousines, designated hotel/motel rooms, retail tobacco shops, or outdoor areas of businesses. While the legislation establishes a uniform statewide standard for clean indoor air, it also preserves the right of municipalities to have their own ordinances that are equal to or tougher than the state law.
“I’m generally not an advocate of more regulation of businesses,” said Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, himself a Colorado restaurateur, “but given the health problems created by secondhand smoke, it is only logical that this public health issue be addressed on a statewide level, thereby ensuring a level playing field for all businesses.”
Hickenlooper was joined by mayors and officials from other Colorado cities, as well as the Colorado Restaurant Association, whose board of directors voted to support this legislation.
“As the number of local smoking bans has increased, momentum has grown among our members to support a statewide ban because they want a level playing field for all operators,” said Pete Meersman, president and CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association. “While we still believe operators should be allowed to make their own decisions based on market demand, CRA has always advocated a uniform, statewide law over a patchwork of local ordinances which only confuse consumers and put affected establishments at a competitive disadvantage.”
Smoking bans have long been championed by health advocacy organizations, including Smoke Free Colorado, a statewide coalition of individuals, organizations and businesses working toward smoke-free indoor public places and workplaces.
“The Environmental Protection Agency has classified secondhand smoke as a Group A carcinogen, like asbestos,” said R. J. Ours, American Cancer Society director of government relations. “We encourage all Coloradans to let their state legislators know they support this legislation and look forward to the benefits of smoke-free environments throughout our state.”
Early supporters of this legislation include the following organizations:
American Lung Association
American Heart Association
American Cancer Society
Colorado Medical Society
Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance (CTEPA)
Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG)
Colorado Restaurant Association
Group to Alleviate Smoking (GASP) of Colorado
Denver Department of Environmental Health
National Jewish Medical and Research Center
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