Smoke-Free Workplaces Garner Public Support At City Council

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Fairbanks City Council met Monday evening to discuss a resolution that would support smoke–free workplaces in the state of Alaska.

Several Fairbanks residents came forward before the council to talk about their full on support of workplaces becoming smoke–free. The resolution was introduced by council members Joy Huntington and David Pruhs.

During citizen comments, Fairbanks resident Alex McDonald explained his viewpoint on why he was not in support of the resolution.

"I don't want to have to go to a smoking area to breathe secondhand smoke because of a bill that's trying to protect me from secondhand smoke," said McDonald. "I quit smoking. I don't want to be around it. You know, and it makes it harder for people to quit because they're around the temptation. That's like asking they hold the meeting at the bar; it doesn't make sense. Why would you want someone trying to quit smoking in a smoke-filled room?"

Fairbanks resident Karen Perdue has been working with the American Cancer Society on the legislation in Juneau. During her career, she has also worked a lot on tobacco issues. Perdue thinks the resolution reflects a lot on the data found over the years about tobacco and secondhand smoke.

"How is it that we know individuals who've never smoked themselves who get illnesses related to cancer or heart disease and often is exposed to secondhand smoke?"

Before the council could vote on the resolution, council member Pruhs had explained why he pulled the resolution from the agenda. He said he wanted to get the other council members' sponsorship on the resolution before the vote.

Council member Huntington spoke up about how one of his children has trouble breathing around people who smoke.

"I have a daughter that came in tonight, actually, and she has asthma," said Huntington. "Cigarette smoke definitely is very detrimental to that, and even walking from the office down to my car, we'll walk by people standing right outside Petco or standing on the sidewalk, of course, smoking."

The council members all voted yes on the resolution.