ACS puts focus on legislation for '04 smokeout efforts

WASHINGTON: For 27 years, the American Cancer Society's (ACS) Great American Smokeout has asked smokers to go a single day without a cigarette.

WASHINGTON: For 27 years, the American Cancer Society's (ACS) Great American Smokeout has asked smokers to go a single day without a cigarette.

This year, the nonprofit's focus is on lawmakers.

This year's event was designed to give political momentum to pending legislation in various regions that would ban smoking in the workplace. Smokey Robinson served as the honorary chairman for Thursday's Smokeout in Washington, DC, where just such a push is under way.

"When the smokeout started, it was about getting people to stop smoking," said Susan Raphael, director of media relations for the ACS. "We branched out a little ... not giving up our core premise, [but] doing more advocacy efforts."

Robinson will host an SMT for the ACS to promote the ban. Smoke-free workplaces are currently mandated in 10 states.

Although not a smoker himself, Robinson has seen the impact of secondhand smoke on fellow musicians, said Raphael.

Raphael noted that there are now as many former smokers as smokers, a testimony to the event's success over the years.

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