Campaign to Clean the Air in Restaurants

Citizens for Clean Air and Clean Lungs

23 Reasons To Become A Smoke Free Restaurant [here]

New Mexicans View Second-Hand Smoke As Harmful To Health [here]

Modern Social Heroes
The CCAA focused on a number of local businesses that are pioneering clean indoor air for restaurant workers and customers. They are brave entreprenuers living in a tradition-bound world. See the feature stories about these modern social heroes [here].
Key Facts About Second-Hand Smoke
Second-hand cigarette smoke is the third leading known cause of cancer in the U.S. after smoking and radon.

Food service workers appear to be 50% more likely than the general population to develop lung cancer, largely because many of them are exposed to second-hand smoke on the job. Teen workers are more likely to be exposed to second-hand smoke on the job than any other employee age cohort.

Tim Buckley, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, states that second-hand cigarette smoke "puts you in a league of your own" for high levels of nitrogen oxides, particulates and volatile organic compounds such as benzene and toluene.

Did you know that:

  • Second-hand smoke is the third leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., killing an estimated 70,000 nonsmokers every year.
  • Second-hand smoke is a cause of lung cancer and, in those with long term exposure, the increased risk is in the order of 20-30%.
  • Second-hand smoke causes up to 300,000 cases of respiratory infections in U.S. children up to 18 months of age each year.
  • In a five year study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, researchers found that women exposed to second-hand smoke had a threefold higher risk for cervical cancer.
  • Second-hand smoke has been found to be a risk factor for asthma, middle ear infection, bronchitis and pneumonia in children. Among adults, in addition to lung cancer and heart disease, exposure to second-hand smoke has been associated with nasal cancer, exacerbation of cystic fibrosis, decreased lung function and cervical cancer.
  • Second-hand smoke contains over 4,700 chemicals, over 200 poisons, and over 50 human carcinogens. The poisons in cigarette smoke include carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and methyl isocyanate. The carcinogens in cigarette smoke include benzo[a]pyrene and NNK, which cause lung cancer; nitrosamines, which cause cancer of the lung, respiratory system, and other organs; aromatic amines, which cause bladder and breast cancer; formaldehyde, which causes nasal cancer; and benzene, which causes leukemia.
  • Over 40,000 studies show that tobacco addiction and second-hand smoke cause disease and death. Some of the groups that disagree include the anti-health money-grubbing tobacco industry and Roger Cox and Associates.

Smoking Bans In Bars Found To Increase Health of Workers [full report]

Smoking Bans In Restaurants Do Not Hurt Businesses -- They Improve Sales
Smoking bans in restaurants in New York City and Massachusetts have not witnessed negative effects to overall sales, according to several studies recently published in the January issue of the JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH MANAGEMENT AND PRACTICE. Contrary to the initial fears from restaurant owners, the ban on smoking has actually resulted in increased business and revenue.

Based on taxable sales receipts from restaurants in New York City, researchers found that restaurant sales in New York City have risen two percent since January 1995, when the city's smoking ban went into effect, compared to a four percent loss in restaurant business in other areas of the state.

In Massachusetts, sales receipts showed that restaurant sales in smokefree towns rose four percent, compared with only a two percent increase in towns with less restrictive smoking measures. "Some smokers did report dining out less frequently, but non-smokers, who out-number smokers four to one, reported dining out more frequently," stated Dr. Andrew Hyland, a researcher at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute who contributed to the studies.


Send a letter (sample letter -- just print and mail) to your favorite restaurant. Ask them to go completely smoke-free. Having a separate section for smoking does not eliminate the exposure to secondhand smoke. You can't put chlorine in half of a swimming pool, and you can't keep smoke in half of a restaurant. Remember, when the air in the restaurant is clean, the food will taste better. Mention that you will be willing to come back more often -- and bring your friends!


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