Cigarettes are Apparently No Longer Fashionable

The Coalition for a Tobacco Free Vermont is thrilled to hear that the City of Burlington is moving towards smoke-free bars to protect the health of bar workers and patrons.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and many other responsible public health organizations state that tobacco smoke is a deadly health threat to workplace employees. Bartenders working an eight hour shift inhale the equivalent of a half-pack of cigarettes, and face a 50% greater risk of dying of lung cancer, heart disease and other illnesses than other workers. Waitresses are almost four times more likely to die from lung cancer, compared to other female workers. No other Burlington workplace requires its employees to choose between healthy air and showing up for work. We think a healthy workplace free of secondhand smoke is a basic right for all of the city’s workers.

An August, 2003 Macro poll shows that 70% of Chittenden County residents support a law making all indoor public places, including bars, smoke-free in order to protect the health of bar workers and patrons. Therefore we’re not surprised that the Burlington initiative began a few months ago as a recommendation from one of the city’s grassroots neighborhood planning assemblies. The coalition applauds the City of Burlington’s responsiveness to her citizens’ call to take action against a serious public health problem.

Burlingtonians concerned with the economic impact of smoke-free bars will be assured to know that in virtually every American state and municipality that has gone smoke-free, available employment, tax and/or sales receipt statistics show that the bar/restaurant industry has either stayed the same or improved. The New York Times reported in a front page story Dec. 28, 2003 that their reporters could not find a single bar, club or restaurant that went out of business due solely to the smoking ban – in a city of 20,000 such establishments.

Anyone who wishes to learn more about the health risks of secondhand smoke, or about other smoke-free initiatives, may contact our website at