* Nonsmokers' Rights HomepageProtecting nonsmokers' rights
Reducing the effects of environmental tobacco smoke and promoting the idea of non-smokers rights benefits everyone in a community by lessening everyone’s exposure to carcinogens and educating the public about the risks of tobacco use. Lessening an individual’s exposure to environmental tobacco smoke requires heavy advocating. Advocacy basically means having a knowledge of, and being able to understand current laws, and then knowing how to change the existing law for the better. Once you have a newproposal in mind, you will need to enlist a large amount of community support before taking the proposal to the proper legislator.
More specifically, advocating for change in existing laws requires that the individuals in charge of a program know, inside and out, existing laws and policies pertaining to tobacco use. Ideally, these individuals should also know what laws are pending, and who is offering support or providing barriers to passing the new legislation. The model legislation or codeshould include the following three items: language that clearly defines what the terms “workplace” and “public place” mean, what penalties would occur if breaking the legislation, and how the new provision would be enforced. In helping to pass new legislation, a program should be prepared to offer relevant statistics on the health hazards associated with environmental tobacco smoke exposure. These statistics should come from a recognized scientifically valid source, such as the Centers for Disease Control, and should be presented in an easy-to-read, culturally, linguistically and demographically appropriate format. While working to pass the new legislation, and while enforcing it, program staff should be able to effectively communicate with a variety of community leaders, including restaurant owners, media representatives, local politicians, youth leaders, and other public health professionals. Once the provision has been passed, your program should offer ways to help ease the transition from a smoking environmentinto a non-smoking one. This can be done by offering signs, designing a media campaign, or asking local craftsmen to offer discounts on any modifications that may need to be done to rid an area of residual smoke (for example, providing discounted carpet installation, etc). Finally, once the code or legislation has been finalized, your program should be willing to work with local officials in establishing means of enforcing the laws. Meet with local police, firefighters, health care workers, religious leaders, etc. to discuss ways to effectively implement the new legislation.
A Ability to stay up-to-date regarding laws and policies pertaining to second-hand smoke
B Ability to communicate specific code or legislative provisions that define “public place” and “workplace,” along with penalties and enforcement provisions
C Ability to present relevant statistical scientific informationon the health hazards associated with second-hand smoke exposure in easy-to-read, culturally,linguistically and demographically appropriate fact sheets, graphs, or charts
D Ability to help communities create new smoke-free venues
E Ability to effectively work with diverse constituencies including restaurant owners, media representatives, local politicians, youth leaders, and other public health professionals
F Ability to monitor compliance with laws and codes