No matter who wins the election next month, change is on the way. This change which will not only benefit every Oregonian but tourists, out-of-town business people, Washingtonians who work and play here and college students. This change will happen whether you vote or not, whether you are Democrat or Republican or Independent, whether you are old or young. And the best part? It will not only save Oregon taxpayers millions of dollars a year, it will save hundreds of lives. And those who have grandchildren; the little ones will be growing up in an entirely different world than you grew up in. Some sort of economic stimulus? A health care plan for every citizen and child? Well, both, sort of.
Oregon joins the long list of states (and countries) going smoke-free at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. What's being affected? Remember those restaurants that have smoky bars off in the back? Smokefree. All bars are affected. Same goes for the bars in bowling allies. Bingo halls still want you to play for charity but cigarettes need to stay outside. Video poker outlets: same thing. Employee smoking break rooms no longer will be allowed. And 75 percent of all hotel/motel sleeping rooms need to be smokefree. And finally, no one can smoke within ten feet of any doors, windows that can open and air intake vents. Ashtrays can't even be near these entrances as well.
In coordination with LifeWorks NW program — African American Tobacco Prevention Network, and the Multnomah County Health Department, a collaborative effort is underway that educates businesses owners and community members about the new law. LifeWorks Northwest promotes a healthy community by providing quality and culturally responsive mental health and addiction services. Program Coordinator, Yugen Rashad, wants to ensure that the black community receives as much information as possible so that no business gets fined and all employees and customers receive the benefit of the new law and clean air. Yugen, along with the network, seek venues and individuals to spread the word. The health department is responsible for enforcing the law but can it only be successful if the public or employee report a problem. It is a complaint driven law. Working together for change is a powerful force no matter which way the wind blows this November. This community will be better off no matter what.
The new law is good news for people or children allergic to cigarette smoke or who have asthma. Secondhand smoke is a Class A carcinogen known to cause cancer in people when exposed for long lengths of time. Asbestos is a Class A carcinogen. It's good news for those who have recently quit smoking. Studies show it helps people trying to stay quit stay quit! It helps those who want to stop smoking stop smoking. Employees who have had to work in these smoky work places will no longer go home at the end of their shift with red, burning eyes, smelly clothes or hair. Waitresses and bartenders have higher rates of heart attacks, stroke and other related ailments employed in these worksites. That risk is reduced after January 1.
To find out more information about the new law or to report a violation, call the toll free number (1-866-621-6107) or go online at http://www.dhs.state.or.us/dhs/ph/smokefree/complaint.shtml.
All complaints are confidential and anonymous.