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We all need to be able to breathe smoke-free air

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The American Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network celebrated the 37th Great American Smokeout on Nov. 15. For millions of American smokers, there’s never been a better time to make a plan to quit. In our community, I’m working with cancer survivors and volunteers to not only encourage quitting, but call on lawmakers to do their part to help those who are struggling to quit this deadly habit.
The Great American Smokeout is about protecting all Americans from the deadly effects of secondhand smoke. The U.S. surgeon general has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, which is a major cause of lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema. In fact, each year, secondhand smoke is responsible for nearly 50,000 deaths from cancer and heart disease among non-smokers.
Elected officials have the power to protect workers in Lancaster County by passing a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance so that we can all breathe smoke-free air. Smoke-free laws not only help protect workers and patrons from being exposed to deadly secondhand smoke, but they also help smokers quit.
I call on Lancaster County Council to join the other 49 communities in South Carolina that are smoke-free and pass an ordinance to protect us from their serious health hazard.

Stephanie Smith
American Cancer Society
Lancaster

Editor’s note: Lancaster County Council approved a county-wide smoking ordinance at its Monday, Nov. 26, meeting. The vote was 4-2. See story on page 1A.