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The Great American Smokeout is this week, Thursday, Nov. 21. Tobacco use is the single-most preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S.

Quitting tobacco isn't easy but it is a fight you can win. The American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout and the Quit For Life program provide help in beginning this journey.

Second-hand smoke contains chemicals causing cancer. Many die of lung cancer as a result of breathing second-hand smoke. Now that the election is over, the hard work of deciding how best to govern Iowa begins; new and returning lawmakers alike should make it a priority to make Iowa casinos smoke-free.

The loophole that allows these workplaces to continue jeopardizing the health of their patrons and their workers needs to be closed and now is the time to do it.

For the last six years, all Iowa workers except those in casinos have benefited from clean indoor air. They're no longer exposed to the thousands of cancer-causing chemicals in secondhand smoke. They're no longer at higher risk for heart attacks and stroke. And they're free from the threat of secondhand smoke-related emphysema and other serious respiratory illness. These are health benefits everyone should have at work.

Casinos, of course, will continue to argue that they should be the exception to the rule. But nothing exempts you from the facts: secondhand smoke kills. Period.

Iowa lawmakers should start the next session by doing the right thing and closing the casino loophole. The lives of their voters may depend on it.

 

Webner is an American Cancer Society volunteer and serves on the Iowa American Cancer Society Leadership Council.

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