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Letter: Keep Freedom to Breathe as is

Three years ago, Minnesota passed historic and comprehensive statewide legislation to ban smoking in indoor public places and workplaces. Now, our right to smoke-free air has been challenged.

We all benefit greatly from Freedom to Breathe. Secondhand smoke poses a threat to patrons and hospitality workers. The smoke-free law has reduced exposure among non-smoking hospitality workers to cancer-causing carcinogens by 85 percent. The law has also encouraged many smokers to quit, which not only improves their health and the health of those around them but greatly reduces health care costs for all of us.

Smoke-filled environments are dangerous to our health, and so is the new proposal to allow smoking in Minnesota bars and restaurants again. The Surgeon General says there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

When it comes to protecting Minnesotans from the dangers of secondhand smoke, there can be no compromise. We can't afford to go back. I urge you to reach out to your lawmakers and let them know you support the Freedom to Breathe Act and oppose any attempts to weaken it.