A coalition of health organizations launched a joint campaign yesterday to pressure the D.C. City Council into reviving an antismoking law it tabled last month.
"It is unthinkable to all of us that the District of Columbia. . .should be placed in the position of not taking action" against the health hazard caused by smoking, retired U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry told a news conference.
The conference took place in the same District Building room where the council voted 7 to 6 on July 25 to table the measure that would have banned smoking in most public places and at official meetings.
Spokesmen for eight organizations said they plan to make the legislation an issue in the current election race to fill seven council seats as well as the mayor's office. They said they will get word to thousands of volunteer workers.
Jerry A. Moore Jr. (R-At Large), chairman of the council's transportation and environmental affairs committee and a leading sponsor of the tabled bill, said he hopes to revive the measure in October, after the primary elections.
Lou Brott, a public relations man for several of the groups that sponsored yesterday's meeting, said Council Chairman Sterling Tucker has promised that the bill will be revived after the elections.
Tucker voted against tabling the bill when it was scheduled for final passage July 25. The other mayoral candidate on the council, Marion Barry (D-At Large), voted to table the bill.
Moore attributed the bill's failure to effective lobbying in behalf of the Tobacco Institute by Larry C. Williams Sr., a Washington lawyer.
Joining in yesterday's meeting were local affiliates of the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association, the D.C. Lung Association, the D.C. Congress of Parents and Teachers, the D.C. Thoracic Society, the Medical Society of D.C., the Metropolitan Dental Health Council and the Metropolitan Washington Coalition for Clean Air.