Bar and Restaurant Employees Group to Advocate for Smoke-Free Policies
A Colorado chapter of BREATH (Bar and Restaurant Employees Against Tobacco Hazards) kicked off efforts today to organize workers, entertainers, and management toward establishing safe and healthy workplaces free of secondhand smoke. Membership is free and workers and management who are tired of being exposed to a known health hazard can join the group by visiting www.breathcolorado.org
"We must start mobilizing hospitality workers and entertainers to reduce the exposure to the third leading killer in the country. People should have the right to breathe and work in a smoke-free atmosphere. No tip is worth dying for," said Dave Therault a Colorado Springs entertainer.
"Workers in other industries have laws protecting them from the dangers of secondhand smoke -— a Class A carcinogen. It's only fair that those protections include servers and bartenders. My health as a bartender depends on it, because in my profession we are 34% more likely to get lung cancer from breathing secondhand smoke." said Andrew Harper, a Denver bartender.
"Working in a smoke-filled bar or restaurant is ten times worse for hospitality employees because we breathe the cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco smoke all day," said Karen Hirth, a Pueblo server. "It had really taken a toll on my health until the city of Pueblo passed a law to protect my health from this deadly menace."
The BREATH project is being sponsored by GASP of Colorado — the Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution — under a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson foundation and in collaboration with the Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance (CTEPA). Workers who do not have Internet access can reach the group and join by calling 303-444-9799.