WASHINGTON, D.C. – In honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, this week, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), former Amtrak Board Member and top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced legislation that would ban smoking on Amtrak.
Senator Carper’s legislation, the Banning Smoking on Amtrak Act of 2019, would codify the existing Amtrak policy that prohibits smoking. Consistent with Amtrak’s current internal policy, this ban would apply to all tobacco use, including electronic cigarettes. Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) earlier this year.
“Tobacco is one of the most harmful products sold legally in the United States. Tobacco use damages countless lives and causes millions of deaths each year,” said Senator Carper, who rides the Amtrak train nearly every day to commute from Wilmington to Washington, D.C. “As a longtime advocate for smoking cessation, and as a near-daily Amtrak rider, in honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, I’m introducing legislation that would make Amtrak’s existing non-smoking policy a federal law. This bill is one of the many ways that Congress can encourage tobacco cessation, protect public health and support passenger rail in America.”
“We appreciate that Amtrak has implemented its own policy banning smoking on trains, showing its importance for the traveling public,” Congresswoman Norton said. “However, that policy could be reversed if not codified. My deepest thanks to Senator Tom Carper, who recognizes this serious public health risk. Our bill would put the force of law behind this policy and protect people from harmful secondhand smoke and its proven detrimental health effects. We lost countless lives during the decades it took states to ban tobacco smoking in public areas. We should not make the same mistake again. I will be working with my friend Senator Carper to get the House and Senate to pass this bill.”
Smoking is a major public health epidemic and is the number one risk factor for lung cancer, which kills 433 Americans every day. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco use kills more than 8 million people annually. While the majority of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use, more than 1.2 million non-smokers, including 65,000 children, die each year due to exposure to secondhand smoke.
View the text of the bill HERE.