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American Lung Association launches Web site

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The American Lung Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties is launching a new Web site to recognize businesses and organizations throughout San Diego County that choose to be tobacco-free. The new Web site, tobaccowatchdog.org, will launch in June. The mission of TobaccoWatchdog.org is to stop the illegal sale of tobacco to minors through:

* Greater retailer compliance with state and local tobacco control laws * Merchant education * Increased public awareness about illegal tobacco sales to minors * Community monitoring of tobacco retail outlets * Recognition and support of responsible organizations that are tobacco-free

A recent survey of San Diego County retailers showed that one-third of them are illegally selling tobacco to minors. Since most businesses and organizations are responsible corporate citizens who care about the health of their customers and employees, you can demonstrate that fact by being listed as a "Tobacco-Free Organization." If your business or organization qualifies for one or more of the following categories, please go to www.tobaccowatchdog.org and download a Tobacco-Free Organization application form. Your organization qualifies for listing on the Web site if you are a: * Retailer that does not stock tobacco products * Restaurant or bar with a 100 percent smoke-free outdoor patio * Employer that prohibits smoking in all outdoor areas * Hotel or motel that does not allow smoking anywhere inside the hotel, including all meeting and banquet rooms and guest rooms * Organization that does not accept any tobacco sponsorships * Publication that does not accept any tobacco advertising

The Web site was made possible by funds received from the California Department of Health Services, and was developed under the auspices of the Tobacco-Free Communities Coalition, comprising more than 30 community-based organizations that work in the San Diego region to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke among San Diego County children, youth and adults. This year is the 100th birthday of the American Lung Association, which promotes lung health through its fight against Big Tobacco, polluted air and the asthma epidemic. Free information about quitting smoking and dealing with lung disease is available at www.lungsandiego.org or by calling 800-LUNG USA.

Submitted by the American Lung Association

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