Great American Smokeout

To the editor:

Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the Great American Smoke Out. It’s a day that encourages people to give up smoking for at least 24 hours – and hopefully permanently.

Secondhand smoke causes cancer and heart disease – it’s a proven fact – and if you can smell it, you’re breathing it. Smoking is prohibitedin all public places, but some people have to breathe other people’s cigarette smoke in their own homes. In multi-unit housing tenants deserve to have a choice to live in a completely smoke-free building. Even non-smoking residents are exposed to secondhand smoke through spaces between walls, floors and ceilings, gaps around pipes, and electrical outlets. Second hand smoke travels through these openings and into other units in the building. As much as 65 percent of the air in apartments and condominiums is “shared” with air from other units and common areas.

Many people who live in places where smoking is still allowed will encourage their neighbors to quit, and talk to their landlords about making a change that will be positive for everyone. People often think they can’t make a difference by themselves, but what they don’t realize is how many people are probably out there who share the same opinion. We can provide resources for tenants and managers to assist in implementing 100% smoke free buildings.

Quitting smoking is about the best thing you can do for your health, your family and your wallet. There’sfree help available through QUITPLAN at 1-888-354-PLAN. I hope all the smokers in our area think about quitting this Thursday. Remember support is out there.

Ann Christensen

Sleepy Eye

American Lung Association

in Minnesota

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