Pass smoke-free ordinance

People know that exposure to secondhand smoke is associated with many harmful illnesses, including lung cancer, heart disease and other respiratory ailments. The negative effects have an even wider scope, however, especially if one considers our children as unwilling participants inhaling secondhand tobacco smoke. Youth tobacco user rates have a direct relationship with youth exposure to secondhand smoke. The more exposure children have to secondhand smoke and tobacco, the higher the likelihood they eventually will become tobacco users themselves.

Studies show that just as tobacco-free school campuses, as we have in Natrona County School District, decrease youth tobacco user rates, so do smoke-free regulations. From our collection of student information in Wyoming’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey, we have seen claims of student smoking on campus decrease from 17.2 percent in 1995 to 8.2 percent in 2009. In addition, the percentage of high school students who smoked a whole cigarette for the first time before age 13 has decreased from 30.9 percent in 1995 to 15.8 percent in 2009.

Yet with nearly 600 youths under the age of 18 becoming new smokers every year in Wyoming, it is important for Natrona County, as well as Wyoming, to continue efforts to attend to the future health of our youth. Implementing a smoke-free ordinance in all public places of work in Natrona County is a giant step in that direction.


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