Searching for the smoke-free zone

West Virginia’s mountain are sharp and faceted compared to the rounded Appalachians of Virginia.  Kentucky’s horse country trots past and Indiana and Illinois’ corn fields reach to the big skies. It is a beuatiful drive to Minnesota.  But at each of our stops we have to hold our breath…smokers seem to rule.

Traveling from North Carolina which is a tobacco farming state, we thought we had seen the worst.  But no, we were in for a surprise.

As you can see, we were driving through states with the highest prevalence of adults who smoke.  Approximately 46.6 million U.S. adults smoke cigarettes and each year around  443,000 people die from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.   Those who are exposed to secondhand smoke, an estimated 88 million Americans,  include 54% of children. Kids whose parents smoke are more likely to miss school from exposure to the second hand smoke than children of non-smokers.  Every year an estimated 3000 nonsmokers die from lung cancer and 46.000 from heart disease through exposure to secondhand smoke.

Research shows that laws and policies are most effective in protecting nonsmokers. The most effective are
increasing smoke-free regulations and laws. increasing the unit price of tobacco products, restriction of minors’ access to tobacco products and finally insurance coverage for tobacco use treatment.

Secondhand smoke gives me migraines.  How does it affect you?  What more should be done to protect those of us who don’t smoke?  Your thoughts…..


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