TERRE HAUTE —
Extend smoking ban to county
I am writing on behalf of the Minority Health Coalition of Vigo County to support the passage and enactment of a county ordinance banning smoking in the county. It is my understanding that the commissioners are considering an ordinance that will mirror the city ban on smoking. That would be wonderful for the two to be identical.
We know that smoking is harmful to our health and yet people choose to smoke. However, secondhand smoke is a killer as well and those of us who do not smoke are affected through no fault of our own. According to the Surgeon General, there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Breathing even a little can be harmful to your health.
In a national survey, 43 percent of U.S. nonsmokers still have detectable levels of cotinine, a biomarker of secondhand smoke. Almost 60 percent of U.S. children aged 3-11 years, or almost 22 million children, are exposed to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke causes: lung cancer, heart disease, acute respirator effects, can cause sudden infant death syndrome and other health consequences in infants and children.
Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate secondhand smoke exposure completely. Secondhand smoke has been designated as a known human carcinogen by the U.S. EPA, the national Toxicology Program and the International Agency for research on cancer (IARC) and the national Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has concluded that secondhand smoke is an occupational carcinogen.
Other cities have instituted bans and, yes, restaurant and bar owners in particular were terrified it would hurt business. Most recently, both Plainfield and Bloomington instituted bans. The end result was that business was not hurt. Bars, in Plainfield continue to do well and in fact thrive.
Therefore, the Terre Haute city ordinance to ban smoking in public places was brilliant public policy looking out for the health of our citizens. It is our hope at the Minority Health Coalition of Vigo County, that you, the commissioners, will also take the courageous step and pass a smoking ban that is identical to the city ban thus having the county be totally smoke free in all public places. This is one piece of public policy that you can guarantee will help the health of all local citizens and the thousands who stop here to visit any of our restaurants and bars or any of our great public parks and attractions.
I am proud to be a part of a community that respects its’ citizens and has courageous leaders who lead the way in protecting the health of its citizens. We wholeheartedly support enacting a smoking ban for the county that is identical to the one that will go into effect on July 1 in the city.
— Dinah Farrington
Minority Health Coalition
The 81st Troop Command, which is being relocated form Indianapolis to Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field, is a unit of the Indiana Army National Guard. The branch of service was incorrectly stated in a Thursday editorial.