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Clean Indoor Air Laws

  • On January 11, 1971, US Surgeon General Jesse Steinfeld, MD, issued a Nonsmokers Bill of Rights at a meeting of the Interagency Council on Smoking and Health on the seventh anniversary of Dr. Luther Terry’s release of the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking, “Evidence is accumulating that the nonsmoker may have untoward effects from the pollution his smoking neighbor forces on him,” Steinfeld noted. “Nonsmokers have as much right to clean and wholesome air as smokers have to their so-called right to smoke, which I would redefine as a ‘right to pollute.’ It is high time to ban smoking from all confined public places such as restaurants, theaters, airplanes, trains, and buses. It is time that we interpret the Bill of Rights for the Nonsmoker as well as the smoker.” (Steinfeld JL: Women and children last. NY State J Medicine 1983; 83:1257-1258)
  • In 1973, Arizona became the first state to restrict smoking in government buildings, health facilities, and other public places. Two years later, Representative Phyllis Kahn introduced The Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, the first statewide law in the nation to require separate smoking areas in public places. The Association for Nonsmokers–Minnesota (ANSR), founded by Jeanne Weigum, mobilized public support for the measure and continues in the forefront of creating tobacco-free environments.

  • In a landmark 1976 case, Shimp v. New Jersey Bell Telephone Company, Donna Shimp, of Salem, NJ, sued her employer for the right to be free from exposure to secondhand smoke in her workplace. The company had banned smoking around sensitive telephone equipment but not around fellow employees. The ruling in her favor by the New Jersey Superior Court led to the prohibition of smoking in the company’s offices and set a legal precedent. California Group Against Smoking Pollution GASP), founded in 1976, became a national resource for clean indoor air legislation, and in 1988 changed its name to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. Pioneering GASP groups established in the 1970s include those in Colorado and Massachusetts, and Bowie Maryland and Miami, Florida. 
  • In 1981 Lyndon Sanders opened the 134-room Non-Smokers Inn in Dallas, Texas, the nation’s first entirely smokefree hotel.In 2005 Westin Hotels & Resorts became the first major American hotel chain to go smoke-free. By 2013 the American Hotel & Lodging Association reported that two-thirds of hotels are smokefree, although only 39% of economy hotels have banned smoking.
  • “The debate is over,” declared Surgeon General Richard Carmona, MD at a press conference to announce publication of Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke. Second-hand smoke is “a serious health hazard that causes premature death and disease in children and nonsmoking adults.”
1855 12 01 Punch Last Refuge of a Banished Smoker Cartoon 1

“Last refuge of a banished smoker”

London, United Kingdom
December 1, 1855

1984 10 03 Arkansas Gazette Fisher Cartoon 1

“The Fischer Cigarette Smoker’s Helmet”

George Fisher
The Arkansas Gazette
October 3, 1984

Auth Cartoon Breath of Fresh Air in Bar 1

“Let’s go inside and get a breath of fresh air…”

Tony Auth
The Philadelphia Inquirer
January 2, 1998

“One hundred years from now people will look back and ask, ‘What were they thinking?’”

— Tony Auth (1942-2014 [Editorial cartoonist of The Philadelphia Inquirer, 1971-2012])

Handelsman Cartoon Out for a Smoke in NY 1

“I’m going out for a smoke…”

Walt Handelsman

“I may not be that keen on the idea of the government regulating smoking, but I sure like going out to a nice restaurant and not coming home smelling like a cigar.”

— Walt Handelsman

Delonas Cartoon This is the Smoke Police 1

“This is the smoke police…Drop your cigarettes and put your hands in the air”

Sean Delonas
The New York Post

“I’m against the government constantly trying to regulate every aspect of our lives, such as smoking in bars and restaurants. However, I’m also against smokers thinking that somehow I should have to put up with the disgusting smoke from that habit if I go out for a meal or a drink.”

— Sean Delonas

Aislin Cartoon Topless Smoker 1

“Lady, did you know it’s against the law to smoke virtually everywhere in Ontario?”

Terry Mosher (“Aislin”)
The Montreal Gazette

Morin Cartoon How Dare You Foul My Environment 1

“How dare you foul my environment with that nasty, dirty, stinking cigaret!”

Jim Morin
The Miami Herald

In 1979 Dade County, Florida held the nation’s first local referendum on an anti-smoking ordinance to require separate non-smoking sections in restaurants. To Miami Herald editorial cartoonist Jim Morin, this was a case of misplaced priorities: outdoor environmental pollution posed a far greater risk to health than transient exposure to cigarette smoke.

The tobacco industry spent over $1 million in mass media advertising (a national record for a county referendum) to oppose the measure. Proponents spent $5000. More than 192,000 voters went to the polls. The ordinance was defeated by 820 votes.

“I come from a long line of smokers and drinkers, and, not surprisingly, most of my role models were smokers. Naturally, when I was young, I thought cigarettes would be a big part of my life. Surprisingly, it didn’t turn out that way.

“My entire smoking career spanned only three short weeks in the 6th grade when I tried to smoke one very strong pack of Gauloises I had smuggled out of the corner store in my best friend’s neighborhood of Brussels. We’d hang out at the bumper cars after school and practice puffing like Jean-Paul Belmondo, or like Lucky Luke (who could roll a cigarette with no hands!) or, at least, like my big brothers. As cool as I was, I never inhaled without scorching the back of my throat, and I was never tempted by the allure of demon nicotine again.

“Not until 11th grade, that is, when I first saw Humphrey Bogart light up the silver screen in ‘Casablanca’. About an hour before I learned that ‘the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.’ I had resolved to copy Bogey’s style whenever I had my first cigarette as an adult. I even practiced holding a cigarette with three fingers, just like Bogey, but I never did smoke like him.  I never even bought a pack of cigarettes. I’d have to look elsewhere for the perfect affectation to convey my newfound world-weary cynicism. Why? I’d done the math, and the cost to my meager pocketbook—hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year to support my habit—seemed too high a price to pay for the meager benefit to my image.

“Ten years later when there was a bill to ban smoking in New York bars and restaurants, I listened to all the ridiculous arguments about the ineluctable union of cigarettes and liquor, but I could never see the smokers’ point of view. In my mind, however, there was still the ineluctable union of cigarettes and Bogart. And yet, when I tried to picture Rick in his gin joint, hunched over a bottle, with no ashtray in sight, uttering those immortal words, all that came to mind was this cartoon. And that’s when I knew, finally, without a doubt, I would never be a smoker.”

— R. J. Matson

Matson Cartoon Of All the Gin Joints 1

“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world…”

R. J. Matson
The New York Observer

Bennett Cartoon No Smoking or Finger Wagging 1

“[No smoking   No finger-wagging]”

Clay Bennett
The Christian Science Monitor
Circa 1990

Pett Cartoon Smoking is Good for You 1

“The fine print’s not all that interesting”

Joel Pett
The Lexington Herald-Leader (Kentucky)
February 6, 2000

Mauldin Cartoon Mind If I Drink 1

“Mind if I drink?”

Bill Mauldin (1921-2003)
Chicago Sun-Times
Circa 1976

Rall Cartoon 3rd 4th Hand Smoke 1

“…the victim of fourth-hand smoke!”

Ted Rall, Creators Syndicate
May 28, 1998

Roth Cartoon Smoking in Storm Sewer 1

“[Girl scout blowing the whistle on a smoker]”

Arnold Roth
TIME Magazine
March 7, 1994

“Smoking is one part of a great symbiotic occurrence. The indigenous peoples of the Western hemisphere and we European immigrants involved each other in our mutual pursuits of happiness. They gave us tobacco, we gave them smallpox, and we all lived happily…though not as long as we might have.”

— Arnold Roth

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