The American Lung Association presented one of its top awards to Taoiseach* (Gaelic for prime minister) Bertie Ahern for his leadership in making workplaces across Ireland smokefree. The American Lung Association Chairman's Award honors extraordinary accomplishments in tobacco control, clean air or research.

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"We commend Mr. Ahern for leading Ireland to become the first nation in Europe to ensure smokefree workplaces, including restaurants and bars," said American Lung Association Chair-Elect Jack Sutter.

The award was presented to the Irish leader by Sutter and CEO John L. Kirkwood at the Fitzpatrick Hotel in New York City - which is a smokefree workplace city.

"Ireland is a model for other nations in Europe and throughout the world in protecting the health of its workers, especially citizens who have asthma or other breathing problems," said Kirkwood, "By implementing this law, Ireland will reap health rewards for generations to come."

Ireland also has been a leader in supporting the world's first public health treaty - the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control-and was one of the first countries to both sign and ratify it.

"The United States should emulate Ireland's example," said Sutter. "All U.S. citizens deserve the same smokefree air and health protections as those afforded the citizens of Ireland."

"Our annual report card on tobacco control policies, the American Lung Association State of Tobacco Control 2004, gave the U.S. government a D grade for its limited progress on the global tobacco treaty. President Bush has signed the treaty but has not yet sent it to the Senate for ratification," said John L. Kirkwood, President and CEO of the American Lung Association.

"The United States should join with nations around the world that have ratified the treaty to save lives," Kirkwood said.

About the American Lung Association

For 100 years, the American Lung Association has been the lead organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates continue to increase while other leading causes of death have declined. The American Lung Association funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is "Improving life, one breath at a time." For more information about the American Lung Association call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or log on to lungusa.

Press release from the American Lung Association

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