Puffing Away: The Dangers of Second-Hand Smoke

David tilts his head back, content with his newly lit cigarette.

“My doctor asked me the other day, ‘You ever think about quitting?'” he tells me. “I said ‘Sure, every time I light up.'”

You can join the American Lung Association’s Smokefree Air 2010 Challenge and help make your community smoke-free.

Hundreds of communities and nine states have responded to the dangers of secondhand smoke by passing laws to become smoke-free.

Yet, most states and communities still have not passed laws protecting people from secondhand smoke where they work, according to the American Lung Association.

On Jan. 10th the American Lung Association of Texas reported that for the fourth consecutive year Texas has earned low marks in three out of four key tobacco control areas in the agency’s State of Tobacco Control Report 2005.

The state’s low grades include an “F” in smoke-free air, in tobacco prevention, control spending, and in cigarette taxes.

“We have the date to prove that funding comprehensive tobacco prevention programs, raising cigarette taxes, providing smoke-free air, and preventing the sale of cigarettes to minors can dramatically reduce tobacco use among children and adults, and save lives,” said Linda Nichols, interim president and chief executive officer of the Texas agency.

Every year in Texas more than 24,000 people die of tobacco-related diseases.

Since the release of last year’s Report state and local lawmakers have continued to make public health a low priority according to the agency.

Despite strong advocacy by the Association in Texas and several other health organizations during the last four legislative sessions, state lawmakers have not increased the state’s cigarette excise tax.

Although secondhand smoke has been shown to cause lung cancer in non-smokers, many Texas cities still do not have strong public smoking ordinances.

Overall, 36 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico received an “F” in funding tobacco prevention and control programs; 32 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico received an “F” in smoke-free air laws; 14 states received an “F” in laws limited youth access to tobacco.

The report card grades each state and the federal government on key tobacco control policies including cessation, regulation of tobacco products, ratification of the tobacco treaty, cigarette taxes, smoke-free air, tobacco prevention programs, and youth access to tobacco products.

Beginning its second century the Association is the leading organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health.

On March 30th the 10th Annual Respiratory Rally will be held at the Harvey Hotel in Irving, TX.

For more information, call 214-631-5864.

The annual “Blow The Whistle On Asthma Walk” will be held on April 8th in Dallas.

For details go to mrsnv.com.

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