Wellness Coalition, ADPH plan to create more smoke-free public places

Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 5:57 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -The Wellness Coalition is working with the Alabama Department of Public Health on a plan to create more smoke-free public spaces and protect more people from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

The Wellness Coalition has long provided free resources to quit tobacco and had already focused on helping African-Americans and those living in low-income areas of the River Region.

Now, the coalition is stepping up those efforts with additional funding from ADPH, and it’s working to develop a plan of action so that homes, worksites, and public places can be better protected from secondhand smoke.

ADPH and TWC will collaborate with a task force of diverse community partners to reduce tobacco dependency and secondhand smoke within the African American community by:

● Developing a five-year strategic plan

● Creating work plans and activities to improve health equity

● Conducting a needs assessment

● Distributing a petition to gauge the public interest in more smoke-free spaces

● Surveying smokers, former smokers, and nonsmokers

● Developing an evidence-based publication

● Maintaining a database of supporters of smoke-free public spaces

TWC is currently canvassing door-to-door to hear first-hand from residents about their experiences with and feelings about smoking.

The hazards of tobacco use and exposure are nothing new to most Americans. However, despite national education campaigns, tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.

That fact is not surprising: cigarettes are engineered to quickly lead to addiction, making it very difficult for people to quit without proper resources and support.

Secondhand smoke:

  • Is the smoke from burning tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.
  • Is also smoke exhaled (breathed out) by someone smoking.
  • Contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and about 70 that cause cancer.

The CDC reports that secondhand smoke causes:

● In children:

  • Ear infections
  • More frequent and severe asthma attacks
  • Respiratory infections
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

● In adults:

  • Heart disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Stroke

Free resources and support to quit tobacco can be found at thewellnesscoalition.org/tobacco or by calling 334-293-6502.

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