Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lowell, IN Goes Smoke Free

Last night the Lowell Town Council passed a comprehensive smoke free air law covering all workplaces including restaurants, bars and private clubs by a vote of 4-1. The new law will go into effect January 2, 2011.

This passage is an important step towards making the entire state smoke free, by motivating other Indiana communities to follow suit. Hopefully Indianapolis will join Lowell in protecting all workers from secondhand smoke sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Smoke-free Legislation and Hospitalizations for Childhood Asthma

A recent report from the New England Journal of Medicine identified a link between childhood asthma and smoke free air laws: Smoke-free Legislation and Hospitalizations for Childhood Asthma. This report concludes that the passage of Scotland's smoke free air law in 2006 was associated with a reduction of asthma admissions by 18.2%.

This study supports the need for smoke free air laws, because:
* Studies in the U.S. have show similar effects, which are not surprising given the impact of secondhand smoke on asthma and the success of smoke-free laws in reducing exposure to secondhand smoke.
* Aside from reducing kids' exposure to secondhand smoke in public places, smoke-free laws appear to prompt more people, including smokers, to make their homes smoke-free - thereby even further reducing kids' exposure to secondhand smoke.
* Strong smoke-free laws protect everybody's right to breathe clean air and protect workers and patrons from the 4000 chemicals, including more than 60 carcinogens, in secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is a proven cause of cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses, including the exacerbation of childhood asthma.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Personal Story From A Former Server

Here is another moving story we got from a person who worked in a smokey bar to make ends meet.

When I was laid off my regular job last summer, I was forced to pick up a part time job in a bar to pay my bills. Every day and night the bar would fill up with patrons who smoked constantly. I used to hold my breath as I walked from one end of the place to the other. People would blow smoke right in my face as I took their orders. I would always have trouble breathing for days after each shift and have horrible headaches too. Unfortunately, it was the only work I could find, so I was forced to sacrifice my health for work. Also, people from out of state were always surprised and disgusted with the smoky atmosphere.

Every day in Indianapolis there are workers just like this forced to choose between their health and paying their bills. It's time to make all of Indianapolis smoke free for ALL workers.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Study Finds That Smoking Costs Indiana $7.7 Billion Annually

A new study just released by the American Lung Association finds that smoking costs Indiana $7.7 billion annually. This amount includes workplace productivity losses of $2 billion, costs of premature death at $3 billion, and direct medical expenditures of $2.6 billion.

The report also found:
·For every dollar Indiana spends on providing tobacco cessation treatments, it has an average potential return on investment of $1.19.
·In Indiana the retail cost for a pack of cigarettes is $5.13. But the real price of a pack of cigarettes to society and to our state’s economy is $15.90 per pack.
·Indiana could save $14 Million annually by helping smokers quit.

Smoke Free Indy is, and always has been, committed to helping Indianapolis residents quit smoking to better the health of our community. If you or someone you love needs to quit smoking they can call 1-800-Quit-Now for four weeks of free telephone counseling and two-weeks free patch or gum. You can also visit our website for a list of local cessation resources. There is also a contest going on through the end of October, if someone commits smoking starting October 1st they can enter into win $2,500 through the Quit Now Indiana Contest.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

CDC Calls for the Elimination of Smoking in Indoor Areas

In the September 7th Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called for the elimination of smoking in indoor areas because individuals are still being exposed to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke has been shown to cause heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults. This release further supports the need for all workplaces in both Indianapolis and Indiana to be smoke free. Indiana is one of the last states not have a smoke free air policy, and Indianapolis is the last major city to not be smoke free who is able to pass such a policy.

Yesterday, the CDC also released a MMWR on current smoking levels of adults in the United States. Smoking rates have been going down the last few years, but at a slow pace and seem to be leveling off. Here in Indiana we did see a drop between 2008 and 2009, from 26.1% to 23.1% - the lowest it has ever been. One way to reduce smoking rates is by passing smoke free air laws, states that have comprehensive laws also have lower smoking rates than Indiana.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Health Finance Commision to Study Making Indiana Smoke Free

On Wednesday, the Health Finance Commission will study the impact of a smoke free air law on Indiana businesses. By taking this step the Commission is recognizing the possible need for a smoke free air law that covers all Indiana workers. Last Saturday, September 4th, the Indianapolis Star wrote an editorial in support of making all Indiana businesses smoke free. The Star has continually stood-up in support of smoke free laws in both Indiana and Indianapolis, hopefully this time our elected officials will listen to their sound advice.

Also in today's Star there is a Letter to the Editor from Danielle Patterson, Chair of the Indiana Campaign for Smoke Free Air coalition and with the American Heart Association. To learn more about this coalition please go here: http://worksmokefree.com/.

This upcoming legislative session will be an interesting one, and hopefully a successful one for smoke free air.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

More Smoke Free Cities

The list of smoke free cities keeps adding up across the nation, further leaving Indianapolis behind.

Last week Savannah, GA, passed a smoke free air law that tightened up loopholes created by a statewide law, all businesses including bars and private clubs are now smoke free. They also require a ten-foot smoke free buffer from any entrance.

Brentwood, MO, also passed a comprehensive smoke free air law covering all businesses on August 16th.

There are also a few ballot initiatives coming up in the November election process, both Jefferson City, Mo and Pierre, SD, two capital cities, are hoping to take their cities completely smoke free through popular vote.