To the Editor:
On behalf of the Clay County Tobacco Coalition, I want to thank the Forest Park Board for voting to implement a smoke-free outdoor air policy.
It is a sensitive balance between the wants and rights of the smoker and the wants and health needs of the non-smoker, but a balance the CCTC believes is possible.
A compromise was reached during the Wednesday evening meeting. Smokers have the right to smoke and non-smokers have the right to smoke-free air.
Areas where people congregate at Forest Park will be smoke-free zones. The pool, pool shelter, playground area, cow palace, band shell and seating area, softball diamond and seating area, little league diamond and seating area, will be smoke-free.
Those wishing to smoke are encouraged to do so in open areas and the small shelters reserved for private gatherings are available for those who wish to smoke.
On Tuesday, Feb. 3, I attended the HB 1213 legislative hearing at the Indiana State House on the comprehensive smoke-free indoor air policy, where all workers will be protected from second-hand smoke. This includes bars, restaurants and casinos.
I listened to a single mother tell of the poor air quality she works in six days a week so she can meet the basic needs of her children. She is a mom with few resources for job advancement and the luxury of "just getting another job" is not a strong possibility for her. She challenged us by asking why she should have to choose between her job and her health. Doesn't she have the right to work in the safest air possible?
I listened to a husband share how he watched his wife die from a smoker's cancer but had never smoked one cigarette. For 20 years, she worked at a job she loved not realizing she was breathing in more than 50 known cancer-causing carcinogens found in second-hand smoke.
The debate is over. The 2006 Surgeon General's report is undisputable. Second-hand smoke kills.
I listened as several medical specialists reported on the findings and I am convinced Brazil needs to continue to lead the state by protecting its citizens.
Several positive steps have been taken in protecting Brazil's workers and patrons from second-hand smoke. Several restaurants are smoke-free. St. Vincent Clay Hospital has a campus smoke-free policy as does the Clay County Courthouse. As one of the first in the state, Clay Community Schools adopted a smoke-free campus policy in 1993. Even our bowling ally, Brazilian Lanes, has taken steps to protect its workers and patrons by being a smoke-free establishment.
There is much more work to do, but the CCTC applauds these achievements and it gives residents another reason to be proud of our city.
Kandace Brown, Director, Clay County Tobacco Coalition,
Director, Character Based Education