Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas Joins with Local Leaders in Celebrating Smoke-Free Legislation
This year will mark the fifth anniversary of legislation aimed at creating smoke-free environments in businesses and vehicles transporting children. Wednesday, July 27th at 10:00 am at the State Capitol, second floor Rotunda, the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas (CTFA) and its partners will join with legislators and public health advocates to celebrate the institution of Acts 8 and 13, as well as commemorate Act 811 of 2011, the new law that expands the current smoke-free cars law.
Act 8 of 2006, commonly referenced as the Arkansas Clean Indoor Air Act, and prohibits smoking in certain indoor areas to protect workers from the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke on the job. It is this act that also comes with exemptions that CTFA would like to see lawmakers make more stringent. Act 13 of 2006, known as the “Arkansas Protection for Secondhand Smoke for Children Act” prohibits smoking in all motor vehicles where a child of less than 6 years and weighing less than sixty pounds and be properly restrained in a child passenger safety seat. Effective July 27th, Act 13 will be expanded by a new smoke-free cars law, Act 811 of 2011.
Signed into law March 30, 2011 by Governor Mike Beebe, Act 811 of 2011 increases the age limit from 6 years of age up to 14 years whereby 73.5% of Arkansas’ children will be covered by the smoke-free cars law, up from the 37% of youth covered by Act 13. Additionally, Act 811 allows Arkansas law enforcement to help protect young children by stopping drivers seen smoking in a car with a child present. A ticket, which currently carries a $25 fine, could be issued to offenders of the law.
“Secondhand smoke kills more than 50,000 non-smokers in the U.S. each year. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are inhaling many of the same cancer-causing substances and poison as smokers,” stated Katherine Donald, Executive Director, Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas. “If you are a smoker, the single best way to protect your children and other family members from secondhand smoke is to quit smoking. In the meantime, you can protect your children and others by making your home and vehicles smoke-free and only smoking outside.”
“We all know secondhand smoke is dangerous,” stated Senator Percy Malone. “I’m happy to have sponsored the Act that will protect the health of our children and pushes closer to a smoke-free Arkansas. Recent scientific studies have produced irrefutable evidence that kids, cars and cigarettes are a very dangerous combination. Laws like Act 811 of 2011 are essential in protecting children in Arkansas and elsewhere, as their bodies are especially vulnerable to tobacco smoke, particularly in small, confined spaces such as cars.”
“People who smoke in vehicles most assuredly smoke in their homes,” declares Former Representative Bob Mathis. “Banning smoking in these vehicles affords children an opportunity to breathe clean air if only for a limited amount of time.”
Katherine Donald, Executive Director, Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas; Percy Malone, State Senator; Fred Allen, State Representative; Bob Mathis, Former State Representative; and other state leaders are slated to attend the press conference. The Youth Extinguishing Smoking Team (YES!) will perform an Act 811 rap song and refreshments will be served directly following the event.
For more information about the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas or the press conference, call 501.687.0345 or visit www.arfreshair.com.
About Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas
The Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas is a network of statewide organizations with a shared mission to prevent the use of tobacco in our state. The Coalition for a tobacco Free Arkansas (CTFA) has worked, since its inception in January 1992, to improve the health of Arkansans by waging a grassroots campaign to increase public awareness of the negative effects of tobacco use.