The Clay County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coalition (CCTPCC) will conduct a Town Hall meeting Thursday, April 16, at 7 p.m., at the YMCA of Clay County, 225 E. Kruzan St., to discuss smoke-free workplaces in Brazil.
"This is more of an educational forum for the community to learn about the importance of smoke-free work environments," CCTPCC Program Director Kandace Brown told The Brazil Times.
According to the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation web site (www.itpc.in.gov), of the top 10 largest employers from each county in the state, 84 percent of them have smoke-free indoor work areas, but only 32 percent have created completely smoke-free grounds.
The meeting will feature five speakers addressing a variety of topics.
St. Vincent Clay Hospital CEO Jerry Laue will be discussing the science of second-hand smoke and its economic impact, Clay County Health Department Public Health Nurse Diane Dierks will address her own personal health issues due to exposure to second-hand smoke, how it affects children and the truth about workplace ventilation systems, Mario Bros. Mexican Cuisine Owner Mauro Martinez will speak about how a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance needs to be fair to all business owners, Youth Speaker Nick Johnson, who was born with a heart defect, will talk about the importance of a smoke-free environment when it comes to health issues and First United Methodist Church Pastor Rev. Tony Alstott will address the responsibility of a faith-based community in meeting the physical, as well as spiritual needs of Brazil residents.
"The public will have the opportunity to write down questions for the speakers, and emcee Dr. Kirk Freeman, who is an education consultant, will direct them to the panel," Brown said.
She added the state legislature is working to pass House Bill 1213, which is for a smoking ban for all public places, including bars and restaurants.
"There are 25 states, including Illinois and Ohio, that currently protect all workers," she said. "The state wants the same type of comprehensive smoke-free legislation so no worker is treated unfairly."
While the state has seen a reduction of the amount of adult smokers -- from 27.3 percent in 2005 to 24.1 percent in 2007 -- it was still the sixth-highest rate in the country.
Brown said no future events have been planned at this time for the Clay City area because the focus is strictly on Brazil.
"The state wants to begin in the larger cities in each county and analyze what the ripple effect will be," she said. "Right now we are just trying to educate the public about the importance of a smoke-free workplace and I encourage them to attend the town hall meeting."
She added many area organizations are also supporting the cause of tobacco prevention and cessation.
"Rhonda Alstott, director of the Clay County Local Coordinating Committee (LCC), will have surveys available during the meeting addressing other alcohol and drug issues," Brown said. "Plus there is also support from St. Vincent Clay Hospital, the Clay County Health Department and the Clay County School Corporation. Support is more than just one dimensional."