Published: Oct 23, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Oct 22, 2012 02:12 PM
Smoking in public
I have a confession to make, I am a former smoker. I started in college, under the stress of academics and because I was in the presence of secondhand smoke that beckoned me every day. I quit when my husband and I were ready to start a family, but I knew better, even before I became a public health professional.
My dad was a smoker, but in 1964 when the Surgeon General first declared that smoking was a major cause of lung cancer, at age 53, my dad quit smoking. I’m not going to lie, it was difficult for him and it was difficult for me. It was very hard to be in the path of others who were smoking. I’m proud to say that no one in my family uses tobacco today.
The Orange County Board of Health is proposing a rule to prohibit smoking in county and town buildings, vehicles and grounds and in public places in the county and towns. As a retired health director and a 30 year resident of Orange County, I believe it is the right move forward to protect the health of the public. In 2006 the Surgeon General issued a report with scientific evidence that there is NO safe level of second hand smoke. The board has been discussing and debating this long before the N.C. legislature passed the 2010 Smoke Free Restaurant and Bar Law. In fact, the Board of Health passed a rule similar to the 2010 law in the mid 1990s. This is the next logical step for Orange County.
Orange County will not be the first to pass such a rule. Durham County has already done so and other counties are considering similar rules. Improving the health of all Orange County residents is the right thing to do. A healthy population saves precious health care dollars, enables residents to live a full, active life, attracts new businesses, and makes all of our communities stronger. I urge you to support the proposed rule to prohibit smoking in public places in all of Orange County and make Orange County a healthier place to live and work.Rosemary L. Summers Retired Orange County health director
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