Thirty-seven South Carolina communities have passed smokefree ordinances. Now Smoke Free Lowcountry Coalition (SFC) and the South Carolina African American Tobacco Control Network (SCAATCN) are working to ensure that Summerville workers have the same protection from secondhand smoke exposure on the job. A successful smokefree ordinance in Summerville will bring the total to 38 municipalities and cover more than 1,400,000 South Carolinians. Locally, Charleston, Sullivan’s Island, Mt. Pleasant, Isle of Palms, Hollywood and Ravenel are covered by smokefree laws.
Dianne Wilson, Executive Director of SCAATCN, announced: “The proposed ordinance would prohibit smoking in indoor workplaces, including restaurants and bars.” Currently, 74.1 % of Americans are covered by some kind of smokefree workplace ordinance. There are 3,173 municipalities that have passed laws that restrict where smoking is allowed, and 22 states have a law in effect that prohibits smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars.
Martha Dunlap, SFC President, reports: “We are grateful to our champion Summerville Councilman Mike Dawson for addressing this major public health problem.”
"I do not believe it is an employer's right to put his employee's health at risk, neither do I think an employee should have to choose between their health and their job,” said Dawson. “Any other business practice that involves toxic substances or dangerous health conditions must make accommodations to protect their employees. This is no different."
Health officials have blamed secondhand smoke for approximately 45,000 deaths each year among adult nonsmokers in the United States1, and for more than 46,000 heart disease deaths yearly2.
The first reading of the ordinance will take place at Summerville Town Hall (200 South Main Street) on Wednesday, December 8 at 7:30 p.m., during a town council meeting. A second and final reading is slated to take place Wednesday, January 12.
The non-profit Smoke Free Lowcountry Coalition is comprised of various organizations including the American Cancer Society, The America Lung Association, SCDHEC and concerned individuals dedicated to reducing the toll of tobacco use in the tri-county area, providing public awareness and education and effecting policy change. For more information, visit www.smokefreelowcountry.org or call 843-364-2635.