Alaska Business Owners Head to Juneau in Support of Statewide Smoke-free Workplaces

Anchorage, AK – March 4, 2016  

A dozen business owners and health advocates from across Alaska are headed to Juneau on Tuesday to visit their legislators and show support for Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 328, the “Take it Outside Act.” The bills are sponsored by Senator Peter Micciche and Representative Dave Talerico and simply ask those Alaskans who choose to smoke or use e-cigarettes to take it outside.

 Not all Alaskans are protected from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. Right now, only half the state’s population is covered by smoke-free workplace laws and many boroughs lack the authority necessary to pass a law.

There is broad support for the bill. Nearly 1,000 businesses and organizations in Alaska have signed resolutions in support of the bill. In addition, a recent poll shows 69% of Alaskans support a statewide smoke-free workplace law. That support is strong and consistent across all demographic subgroups, including location, age and political party. Even a slight majority of smokers (51%) support the law. Similarly large percentages support including e-cigarettes (72%) and marijuana (79%) in a smoke-free workplace law.

Each one of the business people willing to go to Juneau and talk to legislators has their own reasons for supporting the legislation.

Dr. John Yordy is a radiation oncologist at Valley Radiation Therapy Center in Palmer. His practice and their sister organization, Anchorage Radiation Therapy Center, signed on because cancer is the leading killer in Alaska and tobacco use and secondhand smoke is the leading cause of cancer.

 June Rogers owns McCafferty’s Coffee House in Fairbanks, and she signed on because she and her family are musicians who have breathed more than their share of secondhand smoke, and have paid the price for it with their health.

 Angela Cernich owns Arctic Industries, which sells fire resistant and branded clothing. She has signed on to the Smoke-free Alaska campaign because she grew up in a cloud of secondhand smoke and now suffers from COPD. Angela has never smoked.

 Stan Selman and his family own and operate Club Paris, an iconic old Alaska bar and steakhouse in downtown Anchorage. Stan supports smoke-free workplaces for the health of his employees, and says that since Anchorage went smoke-free, it certainly hasn’t hurt business either.

 Secondhand smoke kills roughly 42,000 nonsmoking adults in America each year and can cause many of the same diseases and premature death as smoking, such as cancer, heart disease and stroke. According to the Surgeon General, there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

 The full list of business and organizational supporters can be found