Seven-time Tour de France winner and anti-cancer advocate Lance Armstrong said Thursday he has discussed banning smoking in public places across the United States with the three White House contenders.
"I've asked all the presidential candidates whether America should be smoke-free," he told a Senate committee hearing on how to tackle cancer.
Advertisement"The consensus is that it's better left to the cities and states," he said, agreeing that state- or community-level bans were "the way to go."
"Second-hand smoking is something I'm very passionate about," he told the committee.
"I don't like to sit next to someone who's smoking in a restaurant -- I raced for 15 years in Europe and I've been around enough cigarette smoke to last me a lifetime," said Armstrong, who overcame metastisized testicular cancer to win every Tour de France from 1999 through 2005.
Since he retired from professional cycling, Armstrong has become a leading advocate in the fight to beat cancer, a disease which, he told the hearing, claims 560,000 American lives a year.
Around one-third of cancer deaths are linked to smoking.
Armstrong said banning smoking, or using other means to make people never start, or kick a tobacco habit, were good preventive measures against cancer.
"We know what works in terms of cancer prevention -- targeting tobacco, sun, diet and exercise.
"You now have cities like New York; Austin, Texas that are smoke-free," Armstrong lauded, before looking to the traditionally smoke-filled pubs, cafes and bars of Europe.
"Ireland has taken steps," he said.
"For God's sake, even Paris, France is smoke-free."
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