It's Time

Written by: Jennifer Lane-Riefler Posted on: September 27, 2018 Blog: Jennifer says

Thank you for not smoking


Grant County has the highest rate of cancer diagnosis in the State of Indiana. The #1 avoidable risk factor for this fact is a cigarette. Did you know that tobacco causes an increased risk for many cancers? Lung cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, head and neck cancers, and mouth cancer to name a few. Tobacco use is also linked to heart disease, COPD and stroke.

No matter how we try to get around it we can’t. Tobacco is detrimental to our health and the health of our entire community.Back in the 60’s the Surgeon General made this fact known. In 1965 the U.S. Congress adopted the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act. Cigarette packages had to have this information printed and visible for all to read. Yet we still smoke…

Cigarettes and other tobacco products are still for sale and still legal. Yes, that is true. The tobacco lobby is very strong and until our federal government is willing to ban it we have to make better choices for our health and the health of our community locally. We have allowed Big Tobacco to poison us for decades. First-hand smoke is the smoke you are exposed to when you smoke a cigarette. As you inhale the cigarette smoke it enters your lungs then it is dispersed throughout your blood stream reaching every part of your body. Second-hand smoke is the smoke that we are exposed to when you smoke around others. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that second-hand tobacco smoke causes serious illnesses, including lung cancer and heart disease in non-smokers (US Dept. of Health and Human Services.) Third-hand smoke is what we are exposed to on your clothing, in your car, in your home and on its furnishings. Imagine holding that newborn child or grandchild for the first time and realizing that they are being exposed to the third-hand tobacco smoke on your clothing, your hands, your skin and your hair.

Since 1999 I have been the Executive Director of Cancer Services of Grant County. Those that know me know that every client that ever walked in our doors has been cared for like family. I care about each and every one of these individuals and so does my staff. We go above and beyond each day to help them along their cancer journey. Our data tells us that 97.8% of our clients are smokers, ex-smokers or tobacco users of some type. Many of them are full of regret that they ever smoked and just as many in disbelief that that “did this” to themselves. Tobacco use causes cancer and therefore causes pain, agony, and loss. 10 times as many U.S. Citizens have died prematurely than have died in all of the wars fought in by the U.S.Cigarette smoking causes 480,000 deaths per year which is 1,300 per day.

I do not hate those that smoke. I hate tobacco. I hate what it does to folks. I hate what it does to my clients, my family members and most recently my father. Tobacco is addictive. It is expensive. And it costs all tax payers money. And, Big Tobacco doesn’t care. Their plan all along was to get folks addicted and keep them addicted and attract children to continue to support their Billion Dollar Business.

There is anger and fear among our local bar association members. I was not designed to hurt you. It was designed to make our community a healthier community and to continue to take steps to improve the level of wellness for all of us, a proactive forward thinking community. We have known that tobacco is bad for us for years. It is time.

As of July 1, 2018 66.1% of the U.S. population over 200 million people live in areas that have passed strong smoke-free laws covering restaurants and bars.

Smoke Free laws help protect restaurant and bar employees and the patrons from the harms of second hand smoke (A report of the Surgeon General 2006).

The National Cancer Institute, with the World Health Organization, in December 2016 conducted an extensive review of the economic literature on tobacco control, concluding, “…the evidence clearly demonstrates that smoke-free policies do not cause adverse economic outcomes for businesses, including restaurants and bars. In fact, smoke-free policies often have a positive economic impact on business.”

Our local bar owners like any other business have a service to offer to their patrons. I believe you have more to offer your patrons than a place to smoke. You offer them friendship, community, networking, comradery and so much fun. Each bar has a personality. To think that a smoking ban that would eliminate all smoking from all facilities would hurt you leads me to believe that you are selling yourself short. You offer so much more than a place to smoke. Embrace that. Think about it. Smoking is not why folks frequent your establishment. You are the reason they frequent your establishment.

I am in support of this Smoke Free Ordinance. I am support of this because I care about Grant County and all of the folks that call this home. Its time.

Respectfully submitted,

Jennifer Lane-Riefler

Executive Director

Cancer Services of Grant County

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