By State Reps. Walt Bivins and Jill Schupp

Missouri is well behind the curve in adopting smoke-free standards for public places. In locales throughout the state, we are subjecting real people – customers, workers, children and people with breathing diseases to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

People have the right to breathe clean indoor air. They should be able to eat at restaurants and go into public buildings without being exposed to the serious health dangers of secondhand smoke.

A typical “non-smoker” who works in a smoky restaurant inhales almost an entire pack of cigarettes during just one eight-hour shift. Secondhand smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals and is estimated to cause over 30,000 deaths every year. Missourians alone spend $119 million on health care costs associated with secondhand smoke.