The student led anti-smoking organization "Just Eliminate Lies" (JEL) held a rally today as part of their annual summit to celebrate the state’s new anti-smoking law. JEL members gathered in downtown Des Moines for a rally to celebrate the new law that takes effect July 1st and will ban smoking in most restaurants and bars.
The students in JEL also visited restaurants in downtown Des Moines to deliver flowers and cards saying "Congratulations on going smoke free." Outgoing JEL president, Melissa Nelson of Sioux City, says the law is the culmination of a lot of hard work.
JEL does a variety of smoking prevention activities that’re funded in part by the state tobacco settlement money. Nelson say a big part of what they have done is pounding the pavement and talking to legislators and writing letters to the editor and doing marketing to show how important the smoking ban is to the health of all Iowans.
Nelson says implementation of the smoking ban does not mean the group’s work is over. "There’s so much more that we’re going to be doing, big tobacco is still out there you know, targeting youth, targeting other people," Nelson says. She says one of their main goals is to help people understand and follow the law so they don’t break it.
Nelson says they will also be working on stopping the tobacco companies sponsorship of family events, and their point of sale marketing efforts. During the rally, the group recognized state legislators who supported the law and saw it through to passage
Audio: Radio Iowa’s Dar Danielson reports on JEL rally. :43 MP3