The Glamour Is Not In The Smoke :: Choose Healthier Air For All 

{Disclosure} :: This post is sponsored by Healthier Air For All. However, the opinions expressed are genuinely are own.

The Glamour Is Not In The Smoke :: Choose Healthier Air For All 

The memory of this scene from my childhood is as clear as day. She had tousled blonde hair, bright pink lips and her make-up was perfectly done. Her Jackie Kennedy style sunglasses made her look ultra chic, as did her black tailored The Glamour Is Not In The Smoke :: Choose Healthier Air For All suit. As we flew down the highway in her candy red sports car, she would say “You know how lucky you are, kid?” as a cigarette dangled out of her mouth in an almost Clint Eastwood way. It all looked glamorous in the eyes of the naïve adolescent that I was. Cigarette smoke would fill up the car, leaving me gasping for clean air. Most times, there was barely a crack in the window for the cloud of smoke to escape, and my chest would tighten up and burn. I knew of a few kids whose parents did the same thing but when arriving to school, heat waves of embarrassment and shame would wash over me knowing that my teachers and peers could smell the smoke on me.

As the saying goes, with time comes wisdom! As I got older, I became more educated about the effects of smoking in general. Eventually, it became illegal to smoke in restaurants which was a welcomed change for so many. I was appalled when I first learned of the real dangers of “secondhand smoking.” According to the American Cancer Society, second-hand smoke is a mixture of smoke that is exhaled by the smoker and inhaled by a non-smoker in their presence. The nicotine and toxins are ingested in the same way for smokers and non-smokers. Secondhand smoking is also said to be a more dangerous form of smoking, as the concentration of the carcinogens and toxin particles are smaller, making it easier for them to enter the body’s millions of cells. Someone who is around a smoker inhales more benzene (a cause of leukemia) than he or she would inhale spending the same amount of time filling a vehicle with gasoline. This happened to ME daily for years. I couldn’t help but be upset. I had been directly and involuntarily affected by this, which I learned had exposed me to severe risks including cardiovascular trauma, cancer, respiratory infections and allergies.

Like one of my poetic icons, Maya Angelou, said, ”When you know better, you DO better.” I avoid secondhand smoke for myself and my family like the plague. The mere scent of cigarettes has a way of transporting me back to that time in my life. It’s a twisted form of nostalgia that reminds me of my trouble breathing, my burning chest and my clothes soaked in the scent of tobacco. Having illnesses arise due to involuntary exposure to carcinogens is NOT glamorous at all. I often think of those who work in industries that aren’t protected by the law, and who don’t have the ability to work in an environment where clean air is available to them while making a living. With the help of Healthier Air For All, an organization whose mission is to expand smoke-free environments across Louisiana, great strides are being made to decrease smoking and tobacco-related health incidents amongst our residents.

Quick Facts About Secondhand Smoking ::

  • 79% of Louisiana residents DO NOT actually smoke.
  • Smoking costs Louisiana residents roughly $1.89 billion each year, which is an average of $404/per Louisiana resident.
  • Approximately 7,200 LA residents die from tobacco-related illness each year.
  • Long-term exposure increases risk of lung cancer by 10% to 15% and heart disease by 30%.
  • There is a range of 5,000 to 10,000 lung cancer deaths and 40,000 heart disease deaths each year in the United States.
  • Meta-analysis of 25 studies showed that nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke were 20% more likely to develop lung cancer compared with nonsmokers working in a smoke-free environment.
  • Dogs and cats are twice as likely to get cancer if their owner smokes.

Why Take Action in Louisiana :: 

It is appalling the sheer amount of money it costs to care for our state’s residents due to tobacco-related healthcare, the costs are around a cool 1.89 billion! Unfortunately, the tobacco lobby’s contributions to Louisiana’s legislators compromises efforts to have a smoke-free environments for all. Our health matters, our children’s health matters and we can make a change to live better. Healthier Air For All is providing a few easy ways that residents of Louisiana can join hands and take action for a #smokefree environment ::

To stay up to date about the progress of the expansion of smoke-free environments across Louisiana, be sure to follow Healthier Air is For All on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

 

 

 

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