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PANEL PUSHES FOR TOUGHER ANTI-SMOKING LAWS

The Chautauqua County Tobacco Control Coalition is pushing for tougher anti-smoking laws countywide.

Chairwoman Valerie McDonald said Wednesday that the group is "hoping that state and local lawmakers will take a stand by enacting tobacco-control legislation that will improve the health and well-being of each of their constituents."

In 1997, the group launched its "Clearing the Air" campaign. Despite this, Ms. McDonald said, the County Legislature took no action on its proposed ban on smoking in all public places. She hopes that will change when the new Legislature takes office.

"By eliminating the exposure of a substance that is just as deadly as asbestos, the Legislature has the power to decrease the number of deaths caused by secondhand smoke," Ms. McDonald said.

The organization pointed out that other communities that have passed tougher clean-air laws in recent years have not seen a decline in tobacco sales and that no businesses have had to close as a result of the new laws. The organization also is pushing for an increase in cigarette prices.

"Every 10 percent increase in the cost of cigarettes decreases adult consumption by 4 percent and reduces smoking among children by 6.75 percent," Ms. McDonald said.

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