Tobacco businesses are not above the law

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Vote NO to emergency legislation permitting smoking

Dear [Decision Maker],

As a resident of the District of Columbia, I oppose any emergency or temporary legislation or resolutions that would amend the Department of Health Functions Clarification Amendment Act of 2001 put forth by Councilmember Robert C. White, Jr., which will be introduced Tuesday, June 25, 2019.

Allowing for the amending of Section 4915(5) (D.C. Official Code ž 7-741.01(5)) and Section 4917(a)(1) (D.C. Official Code ž 7-741.03(a)(1)) would lead to creating loopholes for tobacco bars or retail stores to easily be granted exemption from the indoor smoking prohibition, since it grants permission by means of "anticipated" revenue--essentially, circumventing the law on the books to profit businesses.

Instead of circumventing the law, we should be protecting the current policy on the books and maintain a high bar for exceptions. We should also be making sure that we continuously improve the health of the District of Columbia residents and patrons by decreasing the morbidity and mortality associated with tobacco use and exposure.

As you know, secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard. Ventilation technologies do not sufficiently protect individuals from the harmful effects of breathing in secondhand smoke.



Additionally, the fact Councilmember Robert C. White, Jr., put forth this legislation as emergency legislation in which removed any public input speaks volumes to what is seen as a priority--businesses (J. R. Cigars) not public health. This is not emergency legislation, this is helping a business circumvent the law and opening the door for others to do the same.

This year, 340 District of Columbia residents are expected to be diagnosed with lung cancer and it is estimated that over 180 will die of the disease. This is why I again, oppose this legislation and stand with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in opposing this legislation.

I urge the Council to reject this emergency legislation. Let's promote public health, not businesses circumventing the law!

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]
[Your Email]