One of the lasting elements of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D-N.J.) legacy will be the law he helped author that banned smoking on commercial flights and ushered in a new wave of measures to curb smoking in public places.
It was the first accomplishment that Lautenberg’s office cited in a statement announcing his death at age 89.
In 1987, during his first term in the Senate, Lautenberg helped write the original law, which banned smoking on airline flights lasting two hours or fewer. Two years later, in 1989, Lautenberg helped write a law that expanded the ban to 99 per cent of domestic flights.
“These first significant defeats of the powerful tobacco lobby in Congress ignited a smoke-free revolution, which continues to this day,” his office said in Lautenberg’s official Record of Accomplishment.
“The Surgeon General has made it very clear that it is dangerous to be a passive smoker, sitting in a confined space where other people smoke,” Lautenberg said after the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the original legislation.
Lautenberg, who is considered a champion for progressive causes, will also likely be remembered for that bans people convicted of misdemeanour crimes of domestic violence from possessing or purchasing a firearm. According to his office, his ban has helped keep more than 200,000 domestic abusers from obtaining guns.
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