Tag Archives: Smokefree

Decrease Fire Hazards with Smokefree Multi-Unit Housing Policies

We talk a lot about the health benefits of smokefree multi-unit housing policies, but there are safety benefits as well. Last week, tossed cigarette butts triggered a Santa Rosa apartment complex fire resulting in approximately $200,000 in damages, leaving 58 residents without a place to stay. Tenants from one of the units had left their cigarette butts in a container, which later caught on fire during the night. Next to that container was a gallon of gasoline which ignited due to the fire created by the cigarette butts.

These fires are proving to be a common occurrence. In June, a cigarette caused a fire in a Castroville apartment complex, displacing 40 residents. In that same month, a discarded cigarette caused a Dinuba apartment complex fire, displacing 70 residents. In July, a cigarette butt caused a fire in a Campbell fourplex, displacing a few residents. These fires, caused by cigarettes, have all happened in just the past three months in California. Read More »

Getting the Gold Star in Protecting Kids

Smoking and child care? You wouldn’t even think that’s a topic of discussion today, right? In fact, California does regulate smoking in licensed child care facilities by prohibiting smoking at all times in child care centers, or a facility that’s sole purpose is to provide childcare services, but not child care homes, or day care facilities operated out of a person’s home. In child care homes, smoking is only prohibited during hours of operation and when children are not present. Despite the intrinsic difference in setting (someone’s home versus a separate business), we all know the dangers associated with exposure to secondhand smoke do not discriminate. The risk is the same whether a child is cared for in a center or in a home setting.

In late April, the American Lung Association in California Smokefree OC project launched the GOLD Star Provider program in the city of Costa Mesa to help prevent exposure from secondhand smoke in licensed child care homes. Read More »

Smoke Break?

This week in our series “Tobacco & Twenty-somethings”, by Stacy Song

I don’t see as many people smoking cigarettes as I used too. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and the people I surround myself with are more health conscious than the teenage versions of themselves? Or maybe people are starting to understand the awful impact smoking has on their bodies and the people surrounding them? Whatever the reason is, this realization hasn’t infiltrated the food service industry.

As I’ve mentioned before, I work part-time in a restaurant. I’ve only been there for about five months, but what I’ve gathered about this industry is smoking breaks are welcomed and often encouraged. When I first started working there, after a busy few hours, my manager asked if I wanted to go out for a cigarette. And when I said I don’t need one, he looked a little surprised. In the restaurant industry, it’s understandable if after a lunch rush or dinner rush, someone needs a smoke break but considered weird if you just want to sit down for five minutes. Thankfully, I don’t get in trouble if I want to sit down but the guys in the kitchen definitely get an earful. Read More »

The Cigarette Diet

This week we premier our new blog series “Tobacco & Twenty-somethings” which will take a look at tobacco use and tobacco control through the eyes of our own twenty-something, Stacy Song. Every week Stacy will blog about tobacco through her own very unique lens. We hope you enjoy!

In today’s society, women are obsessed with being skinny and the newest dieting fads. Source: I am a woman in today’s society. I’ve tried low-carb, no-carb, paleo, the master cleanse…you name it! Although I normally stick with a diet for only a few days before giving up, I know the feeling of just wanting to lose a few pounds. I was talking to an incredibly thin co-worker last week (not at the ALA) who told me she used to be heavy in high school. Of course, my first response was, “How did you do it?” Jokingly, she responded, “The cigarette diet really works.”

Although she laughed about it, she told me cigarettes actually did help her lose weight. I had heard about this before, about how supermodels smoke tons of cigarettes to suppress their appetite and how some people just drink water and smoke cigarette to have the same effect. Because nicotine is a stimulant, it is said to suppress your appetite and keep your brain satisfied. It can aid with weight loss, but it obviously comes with health risks. My co-worker now smokes close to a pack a day but she still remains thin. She wants to go into the Air Force but doesn’t know if she can complete basic training because her lungs and body won’t allow her to run one mile without feeling like she might die. She thinks this is because she is out of shape, and although that is one of the reasons, her addiction to cigarettes is definitely the main cause. Read More »

The ‘Bad’ Example Who Became Our Shining Star

Guest Blogger – Serena Chen, American Lung Association in California

Debi Austin was a force to be reckoned with. When her anti-tobacco industry commercial hit the air waves in 1996, we saw a woman who was getting back at the industry that had hooked her into smoking at age 13 – by defiantly smoking a cigarette through the hole in her throat. A hole, a stoma, created when doctors removed her cancerous vocal cord, that was brought to her courtesy of RJ Reynolds and Camel cigarettes. She takes a puff, and then growls, “And they say smoking is not addictive.”

During one of her numerous presentations to high school kids, she remarked, “I am the worst-case scenario that your mother told you about,” she said. “I am the walking dead, the castoff of the tobacco industry that they can’t fix, they can’t heal.”

Debi Austin was scary, and we, tobacco control advocates, loved her. She reached the kids who wouldn’t listen to us, she touched the most hardcore addicted smokers, and she told the kind of truth that only a survivor can tell.

In 2000, the Alameda County Tobacco Control Coalition invited her to speak at one of our coalition meetings and it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, maybe even love affair. The Bay Area school districts all clamored to have her speak to their students and Debi simply loved “hanging out,” with the advocates afterwards over dinner where she would tell what we fondly call “Debi stories.” Stories of her childhood and wayward youth. She would drive up to Oakland for our regular quarterly meetings even if she wasn’t speaking. Read More »