Monday, January 3, 2011

Local Group Calls for Official "No Smoking" City Ordinance

Rio Grande City, Texas (December 9, 2010) – Health advocates from SCAN’s Starr County Community Coalition and the agency’s Tobacco Prevention Program said a new U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on the immediate harm caused by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke shows why the Rio Grande City Council should support a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance in Rio Grande City.

“The Surgeon General’s report is the most highly respected scientific authority on smoking and health, and this report’s conclusion is crystal clear: There is no safe level of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke,” Said Sandra Garza, Coalition Director, “This report eliminates any excuse for failing to pass a comprehensive smoke-free law that protects our health and our right to breathe clean air. A smoke-free law is one of the most effective ways to protect our health and prevent deadly and costly diseases such as lung cancer and heart attacks.”
The new report found that smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke cause immediate harm to the human body, triggering physical changes that lead to cancer, heart attacks, lung disease and many other serious illnesses, including damage to the reproductive systems of both men and women.

The report also finds that design changes have made cigarettes more addictive over time.  Today’s cigarettes deliver nicotine more efficiently to the brain, addicting kids more quickly and making it harder for smokers to quit.

The Surgeon General’s report details the serious health effects of even brief exposure to tobacco smoke. It concludes that:

•Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and at least 70 that cause cancer.
•Exposure to secondhand smoke has an immediate adverse impact on the cardiovascular system, damaging blood vessels, making blood more likely to clot and increasing risks for heart attack and stroke.
•Smoking makes it harder for women to get pregnant and can cause miscarriage, premature birth and low birth weight.  It also harms male fertility.

In the report, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin states, “There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke.  Every inhalation of tobacco smoke exposes our children, our families, and our loved ones to dangerous chemicals that can damage their bodies and result in life-threatening diseases such as cancer and heart disease.”
The report and related materials can be found at

Let’s all work together to make Rio Grande City Smoke-Free in 2011!

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