My January 20 City Paper column was a farewell to Dan Carrigan, who has spearheaded South Carolina’s drive for smokefree workplaces. Dan is leaving the state for New York City, but under his leadership we have passed smokefree ordinances in 30 counties and municipalities around the state.

But on his way out the door Dan wanted to leave us with a little more information that we can use in our argument for clean air and smart public health policy in S.C.

On this link from Smoke Free Kids, check out the bullet point on page 4, which shows that 70 percent of South Carolinians favor smokefree workplaces, putting S.C. squarely in line with the rest of the nation in popular support for smokefree laws.

Here is a Reuters report of the Centers for Disease Control study which shows that smoking bans cut heart attacks.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Indoor smoking bans lower the risk of heart attack, even among nonsmokers, by reducing exposure to secondhand smoke, a panel of U.S. health experts confirmed in a report on Thursday.

The report, produced by the Institute of Medicine for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides the most definitive evidence to date that laws that ban smoking from workplaces, restaurants and bars can reduce cardiovascular-related health problems where they are imposed.

“Secondhand smoke kills. What this report shows is that smoke-free laws reduce heart attacks in nonsmokers,” said CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden.

Here is a report from Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, citing the Institute of Medicine study which confirms that smokefree laws reduce heart attacks. 20091015_ANR_release_IOM_Report.doc

And finally, here is the Surgeon General’s report on second-hand smoke, which convinced Charleston’s mayor and city council that it was finally time to go smokefree. It’s powerful stuff. Save it and use it the next time you are dealing with some Neanderthal who thinks that his “right to smoke” trumps all other considerations. As Dan reminds us, there is no constitutional right to smoke. Smokers are not a protected class. They are just a pain in the ass.

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