The Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP) applauds the Senate's decision to join their colleagues in the House and overwhelmingly pass legislation protecting many more Pennsylvanians from the dangers of secondhand smoke in their workplace.The organization, which represents nearly 80 percent of the state's family physicians, urges Gov. Ed Rendell to sign the legislation immediately.

"It's a very good start," said Don Schumaker, PAFP's Communications Director. "There are still too many exemptions, so there will still be too many Pennsylvanians who continue to be exposed to the dangers of tobacco smoke on the job. Everyone deserves the right to clean air."

But, he said, PAFP members realized there was going to be a compromise on the smoke-free bill and the passed legislation is certainly much stronger than the state's current law which is nearly 20 years old.

"We might not have known much about secondhand smoke in 1988 when our current Clean Indoor Air Act was passed," Schumaker continued. "But now we know for certain that scientific research has proven again and again there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke."

PAFP and other members of the state's smoke-free coalition will continue to work for an even stronger smoke-free law that protects everyone.

"As family physicians our members see first-hand the detrimental effects smoking can have on their patients," Schumaker said. "They can talk with them about their own smoking, but it is up to the General Assembly to protect all of us in public places such as workplaces, restaurants and bars from the effects of secondhand smoke. They have started to do that with the legislation that was passed today. There is still room for improvement and we hope that someday everyone will be protected no matter where they work."

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