Albuquerque Kick-off Celebration

City: Albuquerque    Hosted By: New Mexicans Concerned About Tobacco
"Just a few hours ago, New Mexico officially became the 17th smoke-free state in the nation!" With that jubilant statement, Cynthia Serna, Director of New Mexicans Concerned About Tobacco, kicked off a well-attended press conference and celebratory event in Albuquerque as the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act took effect statewide on Friday, June 15th. The event received excellent press coverage by all three major television stations, as well as KUNM-FM and KOB-AM. (Click here to view the press release for this event.)

The celebration and press conference were held at O'Neill's Irish Pub in the Nob Hill district of Albuquerque. Owner Rob O'Neill welcomed the group, noting that most probably didn't normally find themselves in an Irish pub on a Friday morning. “I hope the statistics from other states and Ireland hold true and business increases for us and others, as I suspect it will," he declared.

Participants in the press event and festive celebration included State Representative Gail Chasey, Senator John Ryan, Albuquerque City Councilor Michael Cadigan, New Mexico Secretary of Health Alfredo Vigil, City officials from Albuquerque and Sandoval County, several members of Musicians for a Smoke Free Stage, and a large contingent of advocates from various state and local organizations. Everyone felt especially honored to be joined by Dr. and Mrs. Simms, parents of the late former NM First Lady Dee Johnson, for whom the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act was named.

“This is a day that we have been happily awaiting for a long time,” stated Nathan Bush of the American Cancer Society. “Workers, children and people with breathing problems across the state will be protected from secondhand smoke and now have the freedom to breathe most places they go.”