Letter to the Editor
Published 2:27 pm Monday, August 15, 2005
Smoking ordinance still needed
It has been more than nine months since The Coalition for a Healthier Escambia County went before the city councils of Brewton and East Brewton asking them to adopt a clean air ordinance that would protect its citizens from the deadly hazards of secondhand smoke. As of yet no ordinance has been passed, even though the overwhelming majority of the citizens are in favor of such an ordinance.
Just this week a very respected news journalist, Peter Jennings, died just four months after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Mr. Jennings was very forthright in admitting that his cancer was caused by his previous tobacco use. Also Dana Reeve, wife of actor Christopher Reeve was also diagnosed with lung cancer. Ms. Reeve is in that small percentage of people who never smoked but contracted lung cancer. She was subjected many years to secondhand smoke during her singing career as many waiters and waitresses are in Escambia County in their employment.
Since our coalition proposed this ordinance many other cities in Alabama have already adopted clean air ordinances. Also Scotland joined the countries of Ireland, Norway, New Zealand, Malta, Sweden, Bhutan, Italy, and Cuba in adopting smokefree workplace laws. Montana became the nation's eighth smokefree workplace state, joining California, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
We only want to protect our citizens and our children for generations to come. Nationwide, secondhand smoke – the kind that hangs over many restaurants and offices and leaves clothes smelling like an ashtray- is blamed for 3,000 nonsmoker's lung cancer deaths each year.
Please hear us Mayors and City Council Members and do the thing, which is right for our citizens. Please adopt a clean air ordinance. Ruth Harrell, Chairperson for the Coalition for a Healthier Escambia County states in her opinion "It is the responsibility of government to protect the health welfare and safety of its citizens. The city regulates building construction, fire protection, food and water sanitation.
Regulating clean air improves dining, shopping, and recreational experiences, and creates healthy workplaces. Most importantly protecting people from secondhand smoke prevents disease, disability and premature death."
Tina Findley, RN
Alabama Department of Public Health
Tobacco Prevention and Control