Each year, Tobacco Free Florida Week is an opportunity to educate and empower Floridians about relevant issues related to tobacco use inthe state. This year’s focal point, secondhand smoke (SHS), is one of the issues that affects every single Floridian, according to a press release from Tobacco Free Florida. The fourth annual Tobacco Free Florida Week runs from March 26 through April 1.
Themed “Fresh Air for All,” the week’s events and messaging highlight the progress made in protecting Floridians from the harmful effects of SHS and look to the challenges ahead, as SHS continues to impact Florida’s health.
Despite the substantial decrease in smokers inthe stateand the growing trend of smoke-free policies — both indoors and out — many of Florida’s most vulnerable are still involuntarily affected by SHS’s harmful chemicals, hundreds of which are toxic and almost 70 are proven to cause cancer. Each year, approximately 2,520 non-smoking adults in Florida die primarily from exposure to SHS.
Whatthe State’s Surgeon General has to say:
“We are committed to protecting Floridians, especially children who sometimes do not have a voice. One of the most crucial ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of SHS is to maintain a 100 percent smoke-free home,” said Dr. Frank Farmer, Florida’s State Surgeon General. “While a home should always be a safe place for children, the fact is that the primary place young children breathe SHS is in their own homes.
Outside of the home:
Florida residents benefit from Florida’s Clean Indoor Air Act (FCIAA), which was amended in 2003 to protect people from exposure to SHS and prohibit smoking in indoor workplaces. While the FCIAA protects many, countless Floridians are involuntarily exposed to the dangers of SHS in the nightlife industry, construction and other blue-collar industries while making a living and providing for their families.
The bottom line is that there is no risk-free level of exposure to SHS. Even breathing SHS for short periods of time, like at a bar or a nightclub, can be dangerous. When you breathe SHS, tobacco smoke immediately seeps into the bloodstream and changes its chemistry so that the blood becomes stickier, allowing clots to form that can cause major blockages in already narrowed arteries. Damage to the heart can be significant, if not deadly.