This is Tobacco Free Florida Week and the theme this year, Fresh Air for All, draws attention to the important issue of secondhand smoke. While many areas in Florida are smoke-free, people are still affected by secondhand smoke in their homes, at work, at the beach, and at schools.
If you live in an apartment or condo that shares walls, you may be breathing in secondhand smoke from a neighbor. Smoke can travel through shared ventilation systems, through walls, or into open windows. It is a serious health hazard for tenants and increases cleaning costs for landlords. You can check out smoke-free housing in your county by contacting your county Department of Health or clicking here.
Most workplaces in Florida are smoke-free and are defined in The Florida Clean Indoor Air Act. Those workplaces which still allow smoking put their workers in danger of respiratory problems caused by secondhand smoke exposure and increase their chances of illness. Moving to a smoke-free environment is a win for both employees and the business because it not only improves employee health, it increases productivity because of fewer sick days, it reduces cleaning costs for the business, and may decrease insurance costs as well.
A great day at the beach can be ruined by discarded cigarette butts littering the sand. In fact, cigarettes and cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world. Several beaches in South Florida are now smoke-free. Not only does it protect the wildlife from eating the toxic plastic filters, it means beach goers can enjoy a day in the sun without having to breathe secondhand smoke.
You may think your child is safe from secondhand smoke at school, but not all school properties are smoke-free. An amendment to the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act gives each school district the authority to make all district property smoke-free. That means tobacco use would be prohibited on all district property by students, faculty, employees and visitors. It also sends the message to students that tobacco use is not the norm.
If you would like more information on how you can help make your community smoke-free, go to www.TobaccoFreeFlorida.com to learn more.