- The Washington Times - Friday, December 1, 2006

District residents will be treated this month to a slew of advertisements signaling the upcoming smoking ban in nearly all of the city’s restaurants, businesses and bars.

The District’s smoke-free workplace law takes effect Jan. 2. Print advertisements touting the new law began running in restaurants, bars and Metrobuses in the city yesterday.

The ad on Metrobuses depicts a middle-aged man whose cheeks appear to be turning blue, and the headline reads, “Hold Your Breath. January is Coming.” Another ad, running in 62 restaurants across the city, shows a tree-shaped air freshener labeled, “New Bar Scent,” with a headline reading: “At least the bar will smell better.”

The American Cancer Society is spending about $100,000 to run the ads.

The D.C. ad campaign is similar to other public-awareness efforts in New York and Boston during the run-up to their smoking-ban deadlines, which are already in place.

“These campaigns are a way to make the transition easier for residents of the cities who may not be prepared for the deadline,” said Renee McPhatter, director of the smoke-free campaign.

The D.C. Council approved the legislation in January, adding the District to a growing list of smoke-free communities nationwide.

When the law became effective April 4, all indoor workplaces — including restaurant dining rooms — were required to go smoke-free. Restaurant bars, bars, nightclubs, pubs, clubs and taverns are required to be smoke-free by Jan. 2.

Sixteen other states and hundreds of cities across the U.S. already have smoking bans in place. The Baltimore City Council has proposed a measure that would ban smoking in all public places by January 2008. The measure is awaiting approval by the council and the mayor.

Montgomery County is the only government in Maryland that bans smoking in all public places, and Virginia has no smoking prohibitions.

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