Smoke Filled Virginia

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

January 10, 2006

Virginia is one of the worst states when it comes to air quality, according to the American Lung Association. They tested indoor venues all across Virginia to see how polluted the air is and the results are shocking.

The American Lung Association's study found some extremely hazardous levels of polluted air in places across the state. It is making people think twice about where they go to eat, drink, and have fun.

Virginia's air quality gets an "F" and cigarette smoke is the culprit. The American Lung Association gave report cards to each state in the US and Virginia didn't do so well for one reason.

"If you have a lot of smoke in a tight area that's not well ventilated, then...the smoke fumes stay there. They don't get out," said Dr. Jonathon Truwit, from the UVa Health Systems.

They tested air quality in eleven indoor venues all over the state that allow smoking such as bars, restaurants, and even bowling alleys.

"It's a hard place to stand when there's cigarette smoke all around you," said David Britts, a non-smoker.

In one bar, they said the levels were so high that if it reached outdoors, Virginia would be required to issue an air pollution emergency warning.

It's a threat to non-smokers to be exposed to that environment," said Dr. Truwit.

"It' hurts everybody in the long run," added Britts.

The American Lung Association and physicians are hoping the study is a wake-up call to get Virginia lawmakers to push toward becoming a smoke-free state. So far, 10 states have now passed laws that prohibit smoking in almost all public places.

"It's really going to take people pushing back and saying we're just not going to purchase here, we're going to go to another area that is better designed for a smoke free environment," said Dr. Truwit.

Today kicks off the American Lung Association's 'Smoke-Free Air 2010' campaign. It calls for policy-makers nationwide to close loopholes for smoking.


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