MCC 2008 Spirit of Collaboration Award Winner Campaign for Smokefree Air — Steering Committee
About the Initiative The Campaign for Smokefree Air ( CSA) is a grassroots coalition of more than 260 organizations led by the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association of Michigan, and the Michigan State Medical Society. CSA is supporting comprehensive legislation to make Michigan workplaces smokefree, including restaurants, bars and casinos.
Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in the
United States. It causes 35,000 to 40,000 deaths from heart disease every year, including 3,000 lung cancer deaths among otherwise healthy nonsmokers. Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including more than 60 cancer-causing carcinogens. Comprehensive smokefree workplace policies reduce tobacco-related illnesses and the costs of treating them.
Secondhand smoke kills 1,340 to 2,390 Michigan adults, children, and infants annually and has been proven to cause cancer, heart disease, stroke, emphysema, and asthma. The 2006 U.S. Surgeon General's Report states that “there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke” requiring that smoking be eliminated from enclosed areas. Smokefree air policies have been shown to discourage kids from starting to smoke to prompt more smokers to quit and to reduce the number of cigarettes that smokers consume.
Smokefree laws also protect our most vulnerable residents by enabling children, the elderly, and people with certain health conditions to go about their lives without worrying that their health will be put at risk. Nonsmoking sections and ventilation systems don’t eliminate exposure to cancer-causing chemicals, as even the best ventilators are incapable of removing the free-floating poisons of secondhand smoke.
The 2006 U.S. Surgeon General's Report stated that infants and children are especially vulnerable to secondhand smoke, suffering more acute respiratory infections, ear infections, and frequent and severe asthma attacks. Michigan’s Surgeon General has called on communities to work to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.
Results The Campaign for Smokefree Air has dramatically expanded their support
over the last year. During this time, the campaign’s list of supporting organizations has grown from approximately 75 to more than 260 supporting organizations. This increased membership has expanded CSA’s grassroots support and influence significantly. Through a combined effort, the campaign has seen a 400 percent increase in supporting organizations.
In 2007 alone, the campaign collaborated with partners and local coalitions around the state to hold eight meetings with senators in their home districts, and successfully scheduled 16 representative district meetings. These meetings were led by staff from eight separate organizations and resulted in direct action by hundreds of volunteers from multiple organizations.
The campaign has sustained an extremely large and lengthy grassroots effort that has included letter writing, emails, and phone calls. This grassroots effort has produced letters, opinion articles, and editorials in favor of smokefree air in every major publication in Michigan. Hundreds of letters have been submitted throughout the state by CSA volunteers and partner organizations. Through coordinated action alerts by statewide partners and coalitions, the campaign has effectively sent tens of thousands of supportive emails to Michigan legislators. In 2008 alone, over 1,000 calls were made to legislators’ offices encouraging them to support smokefree air.
On Dec. 5, 2007, the Michigan House of Representatives voted in favor of HB 4163. Several amendments were defeated that would have severely weakened the bill. These amendments included exempting bars, private clubs, and any place with a liquor license.
On May 8, 2008, the Michigan Senate voted in favor of HB 4163 by a 25-12 vote. This Senate-passed version did not contain any exemptions for casinos, bingo halls, or cigar bars such as those included in the earlier House version.
On May 28, 2008, the Michigan House of Representatives passed a vehicle bill HB 5074, which is essentially the same bill that was passed by the chamber in December. The legislation, which covers restaurants and bars, was approved 65-39 and passed with nine additional representatives supporting smokefree air. By passing this bill, the House still has possession of HB 4163, the bill that the Senate passed that would make all Michigan workplaces smokefree without any exemptions. The House can still vote on a comprehensive smokefree air bill HB 4163.
Lessons Learned Through collaboration, the Campaign for Smokefree Air Steering
Committee has been able to bring together traditional partners and
non-traditional partners to successfully influence the Michigan
Legislature. It is through this collaboration that the campaign has been able to successfully move legislation where it had previously failed.
"Campaign for Smokefree Air — Steering Committee” received the Michigan Cancer Consortium’s 2008 Spirit of Collaboration Award. The annual award is presented to member organizations that have done outstanding collaborative work to significantly move comprehensive cancer control activities forward in Michigan.