Petition Drive First Step for Smoke-Free Florida Workplaces

An amendment to the Florida Consititution that would outlaw smoking in public workplaces such as restaurants will be placed on November's ballot.

Some 650,000 Florida voters have signed petitions that allow an amendment to be placed on the November ballot that would require that workplaces be smoke-free. If passed by voters, the initiative will prohibit smoking in restaurants and other public workplaces.

Smoke-Free for Health, a coalition of organizations and volunteers, spearheaded the effort, cleared a major hurdle last month when the Florida Supreme Court unanimously approved the initiative for the fall ballot. Official certification of the remaining petitions by the Florida Department of State is expected soon.

"We could not have achieved our petition goal without the hundreds of wonderful volunteers and supporters from Key West to Pensacola and everywhere in between for their tremendous commitment to this cause," said Martin Larsen, volunteer chairman of Smoke-Free for Health. "Of course, we also wish to thank every voter who signed a petition to protect their health from secondhand smoke in the workplace. Our kids, our parents, and every Florida citizen want to thank you from the bottom of our lungs."

Each week, and estimated 5 million Floridians, including 1 million workers, are exposed to secondhand smoke, according to Smoke-Free for Health. The coalition behind Smoke-Free for Health includes the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Florida Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the NAACP.

by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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