Contact: Molly Cowan

P: 603 271-3077

F: 603 271-3027

E: Thursday, April 06, 2006

CONCORD , NH - The proposed ban on smoking in bars and restaurants failed today in the New Hampshire State Senate by one vote. HB 1177 received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, and was supported by 79% of New Hampshire citizens.

The New Hampshire Senate Democrats unanimously supported HB 1177, and worked to pass this important legislation.

"1,698 New Hampshire citizens die each year from smoking related deaths," stated Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen. "Unlike guns and alcohol, tobacco is the only product that, when used as directed, causes death and disease."

"In answer to fears that restaurants will be adversely affected if this bill passed, I learned that a 2004 study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found that sales and employment in states that implement smoking bans in restaurants and bars actually increased slightly during the first six months of a statewide smoking ban," noted Sen. Larsen.

New Hampshire Senate Democrats urged the full Senate to consider the health of patrons and employees of restaurants and bars. In an eight-hour work shift, wait staff inhale second-hand smoke equivalent to that of smoking one to two packs of cigarettes.

"Passage of this bill would have decreased adverse health effects for restaurant workers, patrons, and children in the state of New Hampshire, ultimately leading to decreased economic responsibility for health care to taxpayers in New Hampshire, "explained Deputy Democratic Leader Lou D'Allesandro. "It is accepted that cancer is caused by second-hand smoke, and the Legislature should do everything it can to protect the health of New Hampshire citizens against the dangers associated with exposure to this hazard. The Senate action today is a giant step backward for the health of citizens in New Hampshire."

The bill was defeated by a vote of 12-11.  Senators voting in favor of killing the bill were: Sen. Morse, Sen. Johnson, Sen. Gatsas, Sen. Gallus, Sen. Kenney, Sen. Boyce, Sen. Flanders, Sen. Roberge, Sen. Clegg, Sen. Barnes, Sen. Martel, and Sen. Letourneau. Senators voting in favor of passing the bill were: Sen. Burling, Sen. Odell, Sen. Eaton, Sen.Bradgon, Sen. Gottesman, Sen. Foster, Sen. Larsen, Sen. D'Allesandro, Sen. Estabrook, Sen. Hassan and Sen. Fuller Clark.