smokinghurts.com

We are dedicated to education and information on
how secondhand smoke affects our lives,
and how we can avoid the smoke as we live and work.

BLOGS: Secondhand smoke and smoking.

I have discovered the wonderful technology of video blogging. I am now putting some of my blogs on YouTube (linked on the title). Please click on he subject to connect. Thanks for watching.

 

 

November 29, 2012

Stop Secondhand Smoking

I stopped secondhand-smoking in the mid 1990s. You might ask, What does that mean?

After 40 years of living and working with people who smoked I was diagnosed with adult-onset asthma. Very quickly I realized that the slightest smell of smoke was going to cause an asthma attack, and very quickly I realized I had to avoid it at all cost.

Granted there is no way to stop breathing the smoke when out in public. Just getting out of my car in a parking lot can mean breathing the smoke from someone's cigarette while they are sitting in their car with an open window, but I do the best I can and keep my rescue inhaler with me at all times. For every whiff of smoke I take a breath with the inhaler.

Amazingly you would think that you should be able to avoid it inside your own home, but we moved to a condo only to find that our neighbor's smoke filled our home as well. That led to additional major lung and health problems so we had to move back to a single family home.

The point of this blog is to remind you that any amount of secondhand or even thirdhand tobacco smoke is very dangerous for you and your children. Avoid it at all cost.

Please visit my web sites
Smoke-FreeHotels.com
Smoke-FreeRestaurants.com
Smoke-Free Housing Consultants

Jacque Petterson

July 17, 2012

Smoking in line at Natural Bridge Caverns (San Antonio, TX)

April 25, 2012

Best friend (smoking) steals your money.

July 7, 2011

Can't resist sharing this great fun video made by Intermountain Healthcare in Southern Utah. Hope you enjoy. Please share this with others.

Intermountain Healthcare in Southern Utah

Please visit my web sites
Smoke-FreeHotels.com
Smoke-FreeRestaurants.com
Smoke-Free Housing Consultants

Jacque Petterson
Smoke-Free Housing & Travel, LLC
 

June 30, 2011

EDITORIAL: Smoke and mirrors

Last week my husband and I watched a re-run of  the CBS show Undercover Boss about the President and COO of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV, Scott Sibelal. We missed the first part of the show, but at the end they replayed the part where the casino worker unknowingly tells the boss the worst part of the job is the tobacco smoke they have to breathe (as noted in this article at AOL Jobs). Another employee had unknowingly taken the boss, who also smokes, for a smoke break in plain view of a guest area.

I will give Mr. Sibella a tiny bit of credit for acknowledging on the show that the smoke breaks need to be out of sight of guests, but his answer to the employee breathing the secondhand smoke was sadly to simply put in fans.

This man has no clue and obviously will not make any effort to understand the true dangers of the tobacco smoke his employees are forced to breathe, and that his fans will do almost no good whatsoever.

The article linked at the top of this blog notes the problems the gaming industry has with smoking. I do not in any way condone gambling (in full confession I did some gambling in Las Vegas twenty years ago, but quickly learned to stay away from it if I want to keep my money). I will fight against gambling in my home state of Texas as long as I can as I believe it is financially harmful to everyone but the casinos.

Anyway, back to my point. Gamers need to stop the smoking to protect their employees. There are a few smoke-free casinos around the country. Please check out ANR (American's For Non-Smokers' Rights) to locate and support smoke-free casinos.

Please visit my web sites
Smoke-FreeHotels.com
Smoke-FreeRestaurants.com
Smoke-Free Housing Consultants

Jacque Petterson
Smoke-Free Housing & Travel, LLC
 

June 22, 2011

St. Francis Hospital in Maryville, MO stops hiring employees that smoke.

In early December, 2009, I had bronchitis and coughed so hard I had a brain hemorrhage. I consider this a direct result of damage imposed on my lungs from all the tobacco smoke I inhaled over the first 40 years of my life. I realized later that when the doctors and nurses told me this was very serious they were not expecting me to live through the night.

Most of you know about thirdhand smoke, or the outgassing of chemicals from left over tobacco smoke on clothing, hair, skin, etc. When I arrived in ICU that night the nurse that took care of me wreaked of smoke and chemicals.

These chemicals cause heavy mucus to collect in my throat, which causes me to cough hard to clear it out. So the coughing that caused my brain to bleed is now being exacerbated with more coughing causing my brain to bleed more. I'm technically dying and the smoke-covered nurse is helping to kill me.

Turns out the nurse doesn't even smoke. When another nurse heard me complain she explained he had taken his break by the snack machines, which happened to be in the employees' smoking area. If anyone reading this doesn't think that tobacco smoke is powerful, think again.

I have received complaints from more than one ICU nurse having to work with nurses that take their smoking breaks and then bring the smoke back into the ICU. If they are suffering, imagine how many patients are struggling to survive it.

If you go into a hospital or any medical facility, tell them to allow only non-smoking employees near you. Prayerfully they will not have sat in a smoking area for their breaks.

Please visit my web sites
Smoke-FreeHotels.com
Smoke-FreeRestaurants.com
Smoke-Free Housing Consultants

Jacque Petterson
Smoke-Free Housing & Travel, LLC
 

June 21, 2011

Picture warnings on tobacco packaging

It's been a few years since other countries began requiring gross picture warnings on their cigarette packaging. Over time we've heard that it will not stop people from smoking, people will just laugh at them, and creative entrepreneurs have made plane bags that can be slipped over the original packages so they just don't have to look at them.

Like most anything in this life, if it hasn't happened to you or someone you know you don't believe it ever will. So ignoring the pictures is probably somewhat easy to do if you need your fix.

The one picture that I care about the most is the one that shows the baby. The littlest ones of our planet have no say. But, my guess is the parents, if handed one of these packs, will just say give me a different one so they don't have to look at it.

My prayer is they will see the truth - at least eventually - and stop.

Please visit my web sites
Smoke-FreeHotels.com
Smoke-FreeRestaurants.com
Smoke-Free Housing Consultants

Jacque Petterson
Smoke-Free Housing & Travel, LLC
 

June 20, 2011

Smoking at garage sales

I've become a serious garage saler. My mother and I go almost every Saturday. Most of the time smoking is not a problem, but I am just amazed at how many people still think smoking in the middle of a group of people is normal.

We keep an eye and nose out for smoke (if I smell it before I see it I will have to use my inhaler). Once spotted - or smelled - I ask if they are willing to not smoke in the area of the sale. Occasionally the offender will apologize and move away. But 99 percent of the time they just turn their head and ignore me. We just have to walk away.

It seems as the smoke-free workplace laws have become stronger those who smoke have become more angry and indignant. As we know, they see us as the oppressors and evil tyrants. Their addictions will not allow their brains to wrap around the health problems they cause.

If you have a garage sale, please put up a sign on your property that says, "NO SMOKING, THANK YOU". You can do this legally and may even get some high-fives along the way.

Please visit my web sites
Smoke-FreeHotels.com
Smoke-FreeRestaurants.com
Smoke-Free Housing Consultants

Jacque Petterson
Smoke-Free Housing & Travel, LLC
 

June 17, 2011

Smoking around children

It's really hard when you have the facts about the dangers of secondhand tobacco smoke on children and you know and watch your neighbors smoking around them, and there is nothing you can do.

One neighbor in particular, a really nice man, had just stopped smoking when we moved across the street from him two years ago. He made it very clear that he understood the dangers and he needed to be around for his then one year old son.

But it didn't last long and soon he was smoking heavily again. Within a year his wife was pregnant. That daughter is now one. Even though he does not smoke inside the house, he and his smoking friends sit on the back patio and create a nightmare of tobacco gasses that fills the yard and the inside of his house. (There is no way to stop the smoke from filling any building as it travels around the windows and doorways.)

I have prayed and prayed for him to stop. I have prayed for the children and his wife to survive it. Last week as I prayed I asked God to give him a scare. Nothing dire, just enough to wake him up and do something.

We noticed something a little different about their house this past weekend.  Less activity when we understood they had actually planned a pool party with their now three year old son. We were concerned.

He called me on Tuesday morning about some work he was to do at a duplex we own. I asked him if everything was all right. He started telling me about what a horrible weekend they had with their little girl. Breathing problems, coughing and her throat filled with mucus. I quietly explained that it was the smoke. I told him about the fact that that is what happens to me when I breathe the smoke. He seemed completely surprised by this. He did tell me he is cutting back to two a day and soon hopes to be done with it. Hallelujah!

My greatest question out of this situation is why did the doctors not discuss this with him? Do they not know that this is a definite sign of secondhand smoke exposure? Do they not understand the need to educate the parents?

I want to call on all pediatricians to make this a priority for their patients. Please talk to all parents about smoking. Give them literature on the dangers. Explain to them what it does to their children. People who smoke are not interested in what I tell them. Until the doctors make this clear and take a stand little ones will continue to suffer.

Please visit my web sites
Smoke-FreeHotels.com
Smoke-FreeRestaurants.com
Smoke-Free Housing Consultants

Jacque Petterson
Smoke-Free Housing & Travel, LLC
 

March 11, 2011

I have jumped through a gazillion hoops, and come just short of doing backflips on the courthouse lawn, trying to get our Bexar county judge, Nelson Wolff, to stop the smoking inside the courthouses. The buildings are inside the city of San Antonio, Texas. The city has a law that states there is no smoking inside any business - right now exempting restaurants with smoking rooms and bars. (All will be smoke-free this August, 2011.) But, the city law only "requests" that all other government buildings be smoke-free. Our county judge, the top dog with all the power, smokes and thinks people like us that deal with the health problems from secondhand smoke are just nuts. So he ignores the city's request. He is a very powerful man in this area, and no one will argue with him.

I started my challenge for smoke-free air in my county courthouses back in 2005, after I was called for jury duty. We actually have a smoking room in our jury room. If you live in a smoke-free state and/or city you are going say "WHAT"!  Yes, I couldn't believe it either. The judges, clerks and employees even smoke inside the building.  Fortunately, the Texas House and Senate bills have passed out of committee for a vote so we are on the right track to force the change, but need lots of bowed heads in prayer for this one.

Well, I figured they would never send me another jury summons so they would not have to deal with me again. Wrong! Got one this week. I've already sent off a large envelope full of information, and my husband, an attorney, is already planning to go with me as representation while I wait outside if they don't excuse me.

Please understand - I love jury duty. I think it is an awesome responsibility and opportunity to do the right thing. I enjoyed jury duty when we lived in California. I am actually anxious for our state reps to pass this law so I can walk through my courthouse with my head held high and breathing easy.

Please visit my web sites
Smoke-FreeHotels.com
Smoke-FreeRestaurants.com
Smoke-Free Housing Consultants

Jacque Petterson
Smoke-Free Housing & Travel, LLC
 

 

March 1, 2011

I haven't written here in a long time, but today I am too angry not to post my feelings.

I'm back in Austin, Texas to speak at the capitol before the subcommittees on the statewide secondhand smoke workplace bills. I was shocked to once again (our third try in 6 years) hear what I call the "Texas attitude" of we ain't gonna tell people they can't smoke anywhere they want. One of the worst offenders on the Senate Health and Human Services Committee being a Senator who happens to also be a doctor from East Texas.

If it weren't for my family and the roots we have put down, I would be moving to North Carolina where they "get it".

 

July 28, 2010

I read the greatest news today. Two cities are considering criminal charges because someone caused a fire while carelessly smoking.

One, in Fridley, Minnesota caused a fire while intoxicated and smoking in bed in a hotel complex. No one was physically hurt, but the owner of the hotel will incur a loss and insurance claims can raise his overhead. The other in Visalia, California, started when a deceased woman's grandson flicked a lit cigarette into the grass - burning down her home and an adjacent mobile home.

I have never understood why smoking-caused fires were always called accidents. It is no different that mayhem caused by wreckless drivers.

If no one dies then the punishment should be compensatory to the financial loss or damages. If someone dies then it should be treated as negligent homicide.

I am so ready for those who smoke to be held accountable for their actions.

April 21, 2010

In case you haven't noticed, I am really mad at the tobacco companies for selling drugs that destroy the air we breathe. So mad that "whenever possible" I avoid shopping at stores that sell tobacco. Most specifically drug stores like Walgreens and CVS, our local Texas-based grocery store chain, HEB, and department stores like Walmart and K-Mart.

My favorite store of all time is Target. Did you know that Target has never sold tobacco and never will? I have an HEB and Walgreens almost within walking distance of our home, but I drive the three plus miles to my nearest Super Target for most items we purchase, including food and medicines. It is rare for me to go to Target more than once a week to save fuel. I just plan well.

Now, I have found it is not always the perfect plan. A few weeks ago my husband was in so much pain due to a problem in his knee he had to go to the emergency room on a Saturday evening. We were almost home before realizing we should have stopped at a tobacco-free all-night pharmacy in the medical center. The next day, rather than take the time to drive the distance to Target, I ran to the Walgreens down the street. I just didn't want him to suffer any more that he had to because of my anger about tobacco. Although he shares my feelings for the most part, he does not care about boycotting to make a point.

Truth is, I don't know anyone else that feels as strongly as I do about making a point of taking their money to tobacco-free establishments. I would like to encourage anyone who can take their business to Target and call their local tobacco-selling stores and tell them, to do so.

Please visit my web site Smoke-FreeHotels.com.

Jacque Petterson
Smoke-Free Housing & Travel, LLC

 

 

April 9, 2010

Snuffing Out Cigarettes For Submarine Sailors
Wall Street Journal

I can't even imagine being trapped on a submarine with secondhand smoke in the air that I have no choice but to breathe. It is amazing to think it has taken this long for the Navy to stop the smoking in such confined quarters.

I suspect the Navy originally bought the bill-of-goods that continue to be spouted by tobacco industry leaders as they insist the smoke can be "eliminated" with filtration systems. WRONG! This is what they use when arguing with cities and states to stop smoke-free air workplace laws. No filtration system made can remove the chemicals that make us sick. And there is no way to patch the openings to stop the air flow.

It is good to know our military is taking to heart the dangers of tobacco smoke and beginning the process of protecting their non-smoking personnel.

Please visit my web site
Smoke-FreeHotels.com.

Jacque Petterson
Smoke-Free Housing & Travel, LLC



April 8, 2010

Jury Reaches Quick Verdict in Favor of Real Estate: Broker in Secondhand Smoke Suit PR Newswire

A lady in Boston, Massachusetts buys a condominium, but only after her realtor assures her the tobacco smoke smell in the unit is from a former owner and will "go away". In truth the smoke was coming from a neighbor's unit and her home is filled with the smoke on a regular basis. The condo buyer sued the realtor, but she lost the case.

At this stage of the educational process regarding how tobacco smoke travels throughout any building and cannot be stopped, realtors are not required to disclose any information about whether smoking occurs in that building or of the dangers from drifting smoke or residual smoke from pervious owners. So far the realtors associations are stating they just don't want to have to add one more disclosure item to the list of problems realtors must address. I guess they just don't really care if you can enjoy your home in good health. They just want their commissions.

I have no doubt this will gradually change as consumers make their concerns known. Let me make this very clear - DO NOT BUY A CONDO OR RENT AN APARTMENT UNLESS YOU KNOW THERE IS A NO-SMOKING CLAUSE FOR YOUR BUILDING. Until you, the buyer or renter, are vocal and adamant that your health is a priority in your new home, you risk moving over and over again until someone gets it. And they will not get it until you SAY IT OUT LOUD.

Please visit my web site Smoke-FreeHotels.com.

Jacque Petterson
Smoke-Free Housing & Travel, LLC




March 23, 2010

It seems that every day there are so many positive changes as governments and businesses around the world provide more smoke-free air options, it is difficult to keep up.

I get updates on every article and research document about tobacco issues every day by email from Gene Borio at Tobacco.org. If you are working toward any kind of tobacco control in your community you may want to join this network.

I started following this tobacco news daily about eight years ago, usually reading until late in the night. It has been heartening to see the changes accelerate at amazing speeds. The number of countries, states, counties and cities that now have some form of smoke-free air law is exciting. Many are banning smoking on streets, in parking lots, on beaches, in parks and thankfully, even in vehicles with children.

My passion is working toward smoke-free multi-family housing. More specifically apartments and condos. When I started working on this problem in 2001 with Esther Schiller at the Smokefree Apartment House Registry in Los Angeles, CA, I would have never dreamed it would advance as fast as it has.

Not only are there now over 100 housing authorities across the U.S. that have banned smoking completely, but HUD has actually sent letters to all HUD housing providers educating them about the need to do the same.

Even private apartment properties are now either completely smoke-free, even outside on the entire property, or they are providing 100% smoke-free buildings.

Condo associations are quietly changing their CC&Rs to ban smoking inside all units, balconies, patios and courtyards. Yes, this is all perfectly legal.

If you want more information about this subject go to my web site Smoke-Free Housing Consultants.

Please visit my web site Smoke-FreeHotels.com.

Jacque Petterson
Smoke-Free Housing & Travel, LLC



March 19, 2010

Yesterday, while driving down a San Antonio city street, a woman, probably in her 60s, pulls beside me on the right. She takes a puff from her cigarette with an attitude of righteous indignation. There was no way she could have missed the two large bright yellow Smokefree San Antonio bumper stickers on the back of my mini van that say "Secondhand Smoke Kills".

Then, as I always do when I see anyone smoking inside a car, I looked for a child. Yes, there in the back seat, trapped in a car seat, was about a four year-old boy. My heart just broke for this baby.

I am pretty sure she was his grandmother. I continue to be amazed that mature adults choose to ignore the dangers of their smoke to children. My next thought is for the parent(s) that allows this. I have to presume his parents also smoke as the child will, without a doubt, smell like a dirty ashtray the rest of the day.

Thankfully many countries and states have banned smoking in cars. I hope everyone reading this will contact their legislators and beg them to do the same - if your state does not already have this law.

We must always protect children from tobacco smoke, even outdoors.


Please visit my web site Smoke-FreeHotels.com.

Jacque Petterson
Smoke-Free Housing & Travel, LLC



March 10, 2010

I receive emails and calls all the time from people who are trying to use air purifiers to clear the smoke out of their homes. Whether the smoke is from someone smoking inside your home, being sucked in around windows and doors or it is coming from a neighbor's apartment or condo in a multi-family building, air purifiers do not work. There is no way to eliminate the chemicals in the smoke.

Many have been taught that ozone machines help. The truth is they are as bad as the tobacco smoke. If you have doubts, please read this statement from
OSHA.

Ozone machines will increase respiratory problems rather than fix them. The only way to make sure the air you breathe is free of tobacco smoke is to live and work where smoking is not permitted.

Please visit my web site Smoke-FreeHotels.com.

Jacque Petterson
Smoke-Free Housing & Travel, LLC



March 9, 2010

We must empower ourselves to require that anyone coming within breathing distance of our bodies and that of children understand - tobacco smoke will not be tolerated in any form.

I have a standing requirement that when anyone comes on our property to do work, no smoking is permitted. We must remember to make this statement whenever we call for bids or have a need to use outside help in our homes and businesses.

The best way to do this from the beginning, and a great way to educate businesses, is to make it very clear, anyone they send to your home or office be a non-smoking employee or representative. At the least the employee must wear clean clothes that have not been smoked-in and not smoke before arriving.

We should not submit ourselves, family members or employees to even the residual third-hand smoke that still causes respiratory problems.

It requires making this clear over and over for education and change to happen.

Please visit my web site Smoke-FreeHotels.com.

Jacque Petterson
Smoke-Free Housing & Travel, LLC

 

 

August 12, 2009

First I want to give thanks to God that my mom, who sadly smoked for many years of her life, is one of the few who has lived to be a pretty healthy 75 year-old today. So far this is one relative of mine the tobacco companies did not kill.

But the real reason for today's blog is the amazing news that Ohio judge, David Fais, has made an incredible ruling. Because of his knowledge of the truth about tobacco and the cost of American lives, he has ruled that the state of Ohio can no longer use the $250 million that has been designated for programs to stop smoking for any other purpose. The money would have been used for Medicaid services, but he so rightly notes in his opinion that the use of the funds for anything other than its intended goal of smoking cessation and preventing youth smoking, etc.  "would result in a substantial increase in tobacco-related premature death and disease in Ohio,..."

I will pray for the other 49 states to recognize this smart financial move and do the same. By simply placing the funds designated for smoking education in the right hands all states would benefit from a medical savings of million, probably billions.

God bless this judge and his wisdom.

Jacque Petterson

 

March 12, 2009

Did you know secondhand smoke causes severe menstrual cramping?

My first husband, Neil, smoked pretty much all the time, plus I worked with people who smoked. That was the 1970s. My cramps were so bad at times the room would begin to spin and I would almost black out. I felt like I was in labor for three days every month, but no tiny tot to enjoy when it was over. My doctor said when Motrin came out with their over-the-counter pills I would have to take the whole bottle to get the dosage he was giving me with the prescription, which actually had little effect. (I do hope he was kidding at least a little.)

Neil died of malignant melanoma when he was 39 in1980. There have be studies that have shown his cancer can be caused by smoking. Remember - smoking causes cancer. They are finding through new studies every month more cancers and diseases caused by smoking that are not listed on the cigarette packaging.

Sorry, I got sidetracked. Anyway, While Neil was in the hospital that last month I noticed my cramps were much milder and completely tolerable. I wondered what happened. Of course he was not smoking in his last days. After he passed away the extreme cramping did not return. I have since spoken with another women who noticed the same after divorcing a smoking husband.

Here is a web page that notes a study from the Harvard School of Public Health http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Smoking%2Bout%2Ba%2Bsource%2Bof%2Bpainful%2Bmenses.-a067832339.

Please protect yourself from secondhand smoke.

Donít miss my web site www.Smoke-FreeHotels.com for your traveling comfort.

Jacque Petterson

 

January 6, 2009

For many years now I have said out loud, with most who heard me telling me I am "wrong", that the chemicals in the smoke residue on the clothes of those of who smoke is a danger to everyone who breathes it, especially children. I have been yelled at and told I'm too extreme in making such statements. The last few weeks the media has incredibly picked up on the research on what is now called "third-hand smoke" that proves what I have been trying to proclaim.

What makes me the maddest is when I am trying to protect children, especially infants and toddlers, and I have been blatantly ridiculed. Because I know the facts from my own experience and research I have a passion to protect the littlest ones that can't speak for themselves. This means I have a difficult time containing my anger and I find myself screaming at the top of my lungs in the need to be heard. You can imagine how that goes over; NOT.

But, thankfully, researchers have done the work and put the word out so we can begin the process of protecting people (and pets) in the future from these floating toxins.

There is no doubt in my mind that we need to work toward the day when it will be illegal to smoke and then go near another living being until the smoke has been washed away from skin, hair and clothing. The only problem here is the need to clear the lungs of the smoke as it also causes harm when exhaled through the breath.

Technically we need to outlaw smoking, but I doubt that will happen in my life-time as I am almost 58 years old. In the meantime it is going to be very important that we begin the challenge of fighting for laws that prevent children from being exposed to these chemicals to protect their developing lungs and hearts. This has started with so many countries and states outlawing smoking in vehicles when children are onboard. But we need to move beyond that and use the "third-hand smoke" research to educate the public on the fact that even putting a child inside a vehicle that has "been" smoked in is just as harmful and needs to be stopped.

We have so much to do. I don't think I will have the opportunity to rest in retirement as my passions will need to evolve as we make progress.

Donít miss my web site www.Smoke-FreeHotels.com for your traveling comfort.

Jacque Petterson


September 11, 2008

Although our office building does not allow smoking by city ordinance there is no "law" to stop someone from smoking outside and then walking through the hallways filling the air with the residual chemicals. These chemicals are just as harmful to our lungs and hearts as standing next to someone while smoking. It takes up to 30 minutes for the air to clear.

One company on our floor has had an employee off and on for about a year that smokes and then fouls the air for everyone. Unless I just happen to see her I often find I am in need of my inhaler or Prednizone for survival for no other reason than I had to walk to the ladies room.

About two years ago the owner of that company came to me to discuss her concerns about the doors to the building being left open on Saturday mornings for our (and other) clients' appointments. She felt vulnerable and that her safety was at risk while working in her office. She wanted the security of know that she could work alone and feel safe with the doors to the building securely locked.

Today, after a trip to the ladies room and having to wear a mask to breath because the smoke was so heavy in the hall and restroom I walked to her office and asked to speak to her. I reminded her of that conversation and that my response was that her safety was more important than our convenience and I would spread the word to keep the doors locked.

I then began to explain about how her employee's smoking was affecting my health. She jumped in before I could finish saying, "thank you", that she was noticing that every time the employee came into her office she started coughing really hard.

I have sent her a great deal of information about the legalities of requiring employees not smoke while on the job. She plans to make that a new policy.

We need this kind of action in all companies to protect the health of all employees.

Donít miss my web site www.Smoke-FreeHotels.com for your traveling comfort.

Jacque Petterson

 


September 10, 2008

Over the years I have heard more concerns about the danger of meningococcal disease. Older teens are dying within days of contacting the disease. It appears to be nothing more than a bout of the flu, so what parent would think to have them tested or run to the emergency room. These teens always seem to be in great health otherwise.

Years ago while doing research on secondhand smoke issues for another reason I came across concerns that tobacco smoke had a direct link to these deaths. The bottom line appeared to be the smoke reduced the teen's immunity system, leaving them vulnerable and at risk.

Today I read a new study that confirms what I had learned earlier. This study done in London, England notes, "Contact with smokers is associated with increased risk of MD in adolescents."

If you are between the ages of 15 and 19, or have children in this age range, it is advisable to keep them away from secondhand tobacco smoke at all times.

The sad part about this is that most people will see this suggestion as over-the-top and not something they would even discuss with their teens. I will be seen as a crazy lady with an agenda. My first comment would be, Why take the chance? But invariably most will, and many will continue to die unnecessarily.

Donít miss my web site www.Smoke-FreeHotels.com for your traveling comfort.

Jacque Petterson

 


September 4, 2008

The tobacco companies have done their absolute darndest to convince the world that smoking bans will harm businesses. And year after year, as the bans become the norm around the country, they are proven wrong.

The most recent data from Arizona, using the tax receipts from restaurants and bars, has shown there has been no impact. In fact, as is the norm, receipts are up. We see this in almost every situation, with little exception.

Of course there has been the really small town with a lot of smoking residents that stopped going out to eat when the ban took place. The percentage of those who smoke in these towns is high and they can then wipe out a business with their lack of concern about the health of others.

But when it comes to cities and states where the average resident has a higher education there has been no anomaly. Boston and the state of Maine are the latest to recognize the exceptional benefits of smoke-free air, the huge impact on the health of the employees and the growing demand by the non-smoking masses. The surge to clean up the air in the outdoor dining areas has blossomed.

The smoking few are going to complain. They have had it so good for so long. No inconvenience for their habit and pleasures with no consequences for the devastation they cause. Until these folks are forced to quit for health or other reasons they will continue to be convinced no one is being harmed. Drugs do that, you know.

My hats off to the cities and states that continue to clean up the air we breathe.

Donít miss my web site www.Smoke-FreeHotels.com for your traveling comfort.

Jacque Petterson

 

 Previous Posts

September 3, 2008

I admit up front that I am a very conservative Republican. I am definitely outside the norm when it comes to those working on smoking issues. I have come to love my left-wing Democrat colleagues for all the incredibly hard work they do to counter the horrors brought about from tobacco.

I am personally excited to see John McCain and Sarah Palin on our ticket and wish them the best. BUT... I must note my extreme disappointment in their choices to accept money from tobacco companies.

It is not only the tobacco companies that bother me, but any company. I do not believe any politician can truly represent "the people" when they are receiving funds from companies they may have to say "No" to someday. It makes it very unlikely that a "No" will ever happen.

Specifically accepting money from tobacco companies tells me Senator McCain and Governor Palin have no clue how serious is the death and destruction experienced, not only in the U.S, but around the world from tobacco use. The explanation is always about the "choice" to smoke. The problem with this is the lack of "choice" everyone else has to avoid their smoke, the lack of "choice" of children losing parents and the lack of "choice" for spouses lost. Not to mention the lack of "choice" when we pay for the high cost of covering their health problems.

Freedom is not always a simple statement. It depends on whose freedom we choose to honor. We are finally learning that the freedom to breathe trumps the freedom to smoke. We just have to find a way to make our politicians, especially the Republicans, understand this.

I am going to vote for them because their belief system regarding other issues most closely resemble mine. In the meantime I pray they will be willing to listen to the those who have dedicated their lives to the education and reform of the problems we all face daily due to the death and destruction caused by tobacco and secondhand smoke. I believe Mr. McCain has already shown some willingness to do so. We will see.

Jacque Petterson

 

Blog June 10, 2008:

My husband and I have a duplex investment property owned through our IRAs. Because I managed apartment communities for many years I had always wanted a rental property I could manage "my way". The need for smoke-free housing is so acute I felt it was time to make at least two smoke-free apartments available in San Antonio.

Of course there is the benefit of less maintenance and protecting the health of the residents (they love it), but I also found a future reward. If we want to sell we can get top dollar. I have already received a call from one man looking to invest in our area, but most specifically wanting a smoke-free property. He noted the lack of need to renovate because the walls, floors, cabinets and appliances are fresh and clean and wants the smoke-free leases already in place.

Last week a friend of ours who is purchasing a rental property through his IRA contacted me about getting the forms needed to make his new property smoke-free.

Moral of this story? Smoke-free rentals are not only in demand by the renters, but buyers as well. If you would like more information about smoke-free multi-family homes, see my web site at Smoke-Free Housing Consultants.

Jacque Petterson

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February 7, 2007

Ask most people who smoke if they care about the harm their smoke does to those around them. The answer ninety percent of the time is, "No". That is a clear indication of the drugs hold on the person. No drug user wants to think there is anything wrong with their drug use, and like a drunk that says he can drive the idea that it may harm others is nonsense to them.

I come from a long line of alcoholics. I currently have alcoholic relatives, both sober and not sober. Only one that I know of died from the disease of alcoholism. Anyone want to guess what killed most of the rest of them? Smoking! From emphysema to cancer to heart disease.

My first husband was an alcoholic who smoked. He sobered up four years before he died of cancer at the age of 39. At that time I had no concern for his smoking, only fearing the alcohol would get him again. Our ignorance of the dangers of tobacco cost him his life.

One 24 year-old currently sober member of our family began smoking as a pre-teen and has stated without hesitation that quitting smoking was much harder than quitting drinking or any of the other serious illegal drugs he has used. He just realized the life-threatening dangers to his health made it a necessity.

Tobacco, in all forms, is known to be the most addictive and deadly drug on planet earth, and yet Alcoholics Anonymous refuses to include tobacco as a drug in their program. In order to be considered "clean and sober" in A.A. it is not acceptable to continue to use marijuana or any other drug. Even addictive use of legal prescriptions is not accepted. Here is the link to their list of "Other Than Alcohol" http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org/en_pdfs/p-35_ProOtherThanAlcohol.pdf. The word tobacco or smoking is no where to be found. Yet, tobacco, the drug that I believe kills more alcoholics than any other drug included in their program, continues to be an accepted mood altering addiction.

We have many friends in A.A. that have recently been diagnosed with smoking-related illnesses. One with asthma who has finally quit, one with throat cancer struggling for survival, another is fighting for air every minute of every day now and is terrified to see a doctor, and another that continues to smoke while on chemo even though it restricts his ability to overcome his prostate cancer.

If anyone believes tobacco does not change ones behavior they need to think again. Within three to six months of complete elimination of smoking or chewing tobacco the personality of the user changes dramatically.

I ask Alcoholics Anonymous to rethink their sobriety list and include tobacco in all forms. Please, before it kills so many more of your members.
 

December 4, 2006

Before I begin I must say a big thank you to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services for their decision to protect the foster children of our state from secondhand smoke in the home and in vehicles. Even the radio talk show hosts are saying it's a great idea that should be taken further. No child should be exposed to tobacco smoke under any circumstances.

There was a complete irony to this story in another news story here this weekend. A baby with cancer was given a fund raiser for her medical expenses at Floore's Country Store, a smoky bar in Helotes, Texas. I have complained before that this bar should not be hosting events for cancer fund raising as long as they allow smoking, the number one cause of cancer in this country. They really don't get it.

While dressing for work this morning I began thinking about the problems of obesity. The question running through my mind centered around doctors and how they treat the obese. Actually how they treat anyone even 10 pounds over their healthy weight.

I have battled weight problems all of my life. Usually I was 10 - 15 pounds over at most times, but there were those times when I was either quite thin or I was 30 to 40 pounds more than I should have been. I am working on eating properly, and in balance, now and for the rest of my life.

There were only two doctors that made any type of remark. The first suggested I walk daily. The second simply suggested I watch what I ate to help with my acid reflux. No details. No serious suggestions.

There is no question in my mind if a doctor had told me to keep a diary of what I ate each day, and then showed me the error of my ways, I would have made the changes suggested. When a doctor tells us to take a certain pill twice a day we are more prone to do so because he or she cares about us and knows what he or she is doing to make us "better". If a doctor were to give us certain foods that will take away our aches and pains we would see it as any prescription. Many of us just have to be told or taught to do what's right when we are obviously making bad decisions we don't recognize.

The same goes for secondhand smoke. All those years of living and working with tobacco smoke were destroying my lungs. Even when I went to the doctor and said I am having trouble breathing and something is wrong, please do a lung x-ray, I never had a doctor ask if I had been exposed to tobacco smoke.

I would hear rumors or occasional stories about secondhand smoke being dangerous, but because a doctor ignored the possibilities I continued with the exposure. I believed it couldn't be that bad if a doctor didn't even bring it up.

I would beg all doctors to begin the process of questioning all patients about their exposure to secondhand smoke at work, home and play. Don't just give us a pill. We need you to be honest with us and give us the truth.

 

November 9, 2006

Tuesday's elections were quite an eye-opener for the country. It was wonderful to see so many people express their opinion on what they want for "their" U.S. of A.

For me the greatest victories were for the health of workers in Ohio, Arizona, and Nevada. Although there were many concessions made that I would not have chosen, the citizens made it very clear; they know secondhand tobacco smoke is harming and killing people in their states and it is time it is stopped.

The concessions that concerned me include bars and casinos that will continue to be allowed to poison their employees. Bar and casino personnel have loudly expressed their dismay that they must work in smoke-filled buildings. Their lungs are suffering, and their hearts damaged.

Studies around the country and overseas have all shown that once smoking is banned from the workplace lung function increases, health improves and sick days are decreased.

Another terrible tragedy of this problem involves the children at home that must endure the chemical compounds on the clothes of their parents when they come home at the end of the day.

I am grateful we are headed in the right direction, and know that every step towards a healthier community will begin the snowball of change.

 

October 30, 2006

My greatest sympathy goes to those who live in apartments and condos adjoining someone who smokes. The smoke cannot be contained in the smoked-in unit so it fills the surrounding homes as well making others in the building quite ill. This can even be life-threatening.

This past week I have heard from three different individuals who signed a long lease only to find their homes filled with tobacco smoke. In all three cases the management has said, "Too bad. Leave and you will owe all of your lease or have your credit ruined". My heart just breaks thinking about their anguish.

I do not for the life of me understand why so many apartment management companies are not willing to create separate smoking and non-smoking buildings or, at the least, release these poor people from the contracts so they can find a place to live in peace and good health.

What is wrong with these people? Hotels have done this for years, and now many find it just better to make the whole place completely smoke-free.

Yes, there are a few management companies that have made or are making their buildings smoke-free, but the majority still seem to be content to watch their non-smoking residents suffer.

If anyone has a very large sum of money they would like to invest in an apartment community, I can make them money by eliminating all smoking. You will enjoy profits with less turnover, less maintenance, less fire risk, and fewer complaints from residents. Please contact me. I managed apartments for many years and was certified by the National Apartment Association. We can do this!!!

Management companies and apartment owners - please stop torturing good people because you don't want to tell someone they can't smoke. How ridiculous is that in the 21st Century?

 

October 3, 2006

My husband is a graduate of Notre Dame University. This past weekend one of his clients flew us to Chicago with tickets to the Notre Dame vs. Purdue game (great game!). I had only driven through Chicago once and was excited to see more of this old, but proud city. There was only one flaw in the weekend. The secondhand smoke.

It just breaks my heart to see parents taking their children into a restaurant where people are smoking. I watched them coming and going from smoke-filled restaurants all over the city.

Before I was diagnosed with adult-onset asthma in the mid 1990s, just like most people, we would ask for the "no-smoking section". We "thought" we were protected. I was just aggravated that I had to hold my breath to go through the smoking section to the restroom.

But that was before I was forced by health to educate myself on the dangers and what it was doing to my lungs. Knowing what I know now, even without asthma, I would never enter a restaurant or any other business or home where people are allowed to smoke,

Chicago leaders have made a decision to ban smoking in most bars and restaurants, but not until July, 2008. Unfortunately they were duped into believing that air filtration systems will be enough protection, and the ordinance will allow businesses to choose that option.

Air filtration systems do not stop the smoke from seeping under walls and through electrical outlets. The do not stop the smoke from escaping the room every time the door is opened (not to mention when they forget to close the door at all). Those entire buildings will continue to be smoke-filled.

I believe the reason parents continue to take their children into smoky restaurants and the reason city councils continue to make mistakes by not banning smoking indoors completely is lack of education.

The tobacco money from the settlements are still building bridges, not educating the public as it should be. Tobacco companies need to sell their products. They are not going to tell the truth unless forced. Health agencies and non-profit organizations are doing the best they can with the little money they can pull together, but it's not enough.

The one thing I want to say in this blog is, Parents, please do not take your children where smoking is allowed. Restaurant goers, please do not patronize businesses where smoking is permitted. This is the only way the owners will make changes on their own. Tell them you will not give them your business and money unless they protect all employees and customers from the poisonous gases in tobacco smoke.

September 2, 2006

This past week I was asked to be a witness at a will signing. The attorney, knowing I cannot be around tobacco smoke chemicals, even on the clothes of those who smoke, explained they were both nurses and it should be ok. I mentioned to him that nurses have one of the highest smoking rates of all professions.

Sure enough the secondhand smoke on their clothes were a problem from the moment they entered the office. I explained my asthma and that I would have to wear a mask while they were there. They understood.

This brought to mind that if I am ever in an emergency situation and need medical attention, whether by paramedics, police, or in a hospital, I need some way to communicate that I need smoke-free attendants.

All I would need is for someone with smoke on their clothes to come near me and cause a severe asthma attack. Any more than a brief encounter, assuming I survive the attack, will cause bronchitis. I must look into those bracelets and necklaces with emergency information.

I am so glad to know that some hospitals around the world are beginning to require personnel to stop smoking. I tried last year to convince the hospitals in my home town of San Antonio, Texas to follow suit, but it did not happen. I pray that soon this will become the standard everywhere.

One more point I would like to make. I hear over and over that many people who smoke do not believe secondhand smoke is dangerous. Amazingly, I have not had one smoker not understand when I say I have asthma and must stand away from them because of the smoke on their clothes. They ALWAYS apologize and step back. They know it, they just don't want to hear it.

Jacque Petterson

August 24, 2006

Years ago, long after I established www.Smoke-FreeRestaurants.com I inquired about the domain name www.Smokefreerestaurants.com. Although I prefer the proper hyphenated version, that little dash can make a difference when someone is searching the Internet. I was told the "dashless" version was not available and given a number to call. The site was basically an empty page with a few simple words that implied it was not being used.

I called the number I was given and was told they were the representatives for the owner of that domain name and that the owners wished to remain anonymous and did not want to release it.

It took a little time, but it finally registered that the tobacco companies had bought the name so no one else could use it.

Today I decided to check the site once again. They have since added some restaurant information. I called one of the restaurants on the site, a Bennigans in Iowa, and was told they are NOT smoke-free.

I am more than ever convinced the site is owned by a tobacco company. Just want the world to hear this. Be sure you understand this, the tobacco companies don't care about you. They only care about their pocketbooks and they don't care how many people they kill or harm to keep those wallets packed.

August 15, 2006

Saturday was my mom's 72nd birthday. A smoker most of her adult life, she "officially" quit many years ago. She finally confessed something I already knew, she still sneaks one occasionally while sitting on her back porch (I blame other smoking relatives for leading her astray).

We are of the few truly blessed as mom is still in good health, with only an infrequent bout with bronchitis. Mom is not the norm. At her age most have succumbed to lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and death.

Mom had one wish for her birthday. To drive back to the small town of Mirando City, Texas where she spent the most memorable years of her childhood. Not to mention this was where she met our dad.

My sister and I decided a trip to Mirando City would be a special day for all of us. Unfortunately, traveling with me is an experience most would avoid if possible. My lungs require 100% smoke-free air at all times. Texas does not have a smoke-free workplace law of any type, which means something as simple as finding a service station with clean air for those needed restroom stops is questionable.

A fellow traveler, usually my husband, must enter the business, sometimes wait in line for a clerk's attention, and then try to explain why they are asking if smoking is allowed. Ninety-nine percent of the time they assume it is because we want to smoke inside.

The first place we stopped, off Interstate 35 South, said, "Sure, you can if you want to." My little sister then tries to explain we don't want to and that her sister (me) has asthma. They just say, "Oh." Desperate, I put a heavy duty dust mask over my face and run to the ladies room. I can tell immediately if I will have a problem because the mask will not protect me if the smoke is heavy. This time I was very fortunate as the air was fairly clear.

After running back to the car I noticed at least two people came outside to light their cigarettes. It was a shocking picture, but much appreciated. I almost yelled, "thank you," but decided it was best to be grateful in silence.

As we reach Laredo we are starving so we stop at a "family restaurant" called Golden Coral. Surely they will be smoke-free we agreed. My sister jumps out of the car and runs in to ask, "Do you allow smoking in here?" No we don't is the answer. We excitedly park and head for the door. The minute the door opens I see the sign, "Smoking in designated areas only." My sister goes over the conversation she had inside. I have to explain they meant no smoking in "that room." She couldn't believe they didn't understand the question.

We move on to Chili's, but with hesitation, as some still allow smoking. Fortunately this one did not so we gratefully sit down to a wonderful and restful lunch.

Mirando City, a half-hour drive from Laredo, is a tiny little spot on the map. While there a time came to find a ladies room again so we asked a gentleman we met at the school grounds for directions. Our only option was a tiny restaurant called the Red Barn Drive Inn & Restaurant.

First, I did not expect it to be smoke-free, and second it looked from the outside like a biker bar. I left my mom and sister in the car, grabbed my mask, and headed for the door. As I walked in it smelled fresh. I stepped down from the doorway as my eyes adjusted to the light. Inside was a cute little restaurant with red checkered tablecloths and three or four burly guys dining. Not an ashtray in sight.

I'm thinking this can't be real. I'm in a little town in Texas, along the Mexican border, and I find a smoke-free restaurant. I couldn't thank them enough.

The moral of this story is that smoke-free restaurants do exist in rural Texas, many people who smoke are learning to smoke outside, and some Texans (not Texas) get it.

As I develop my smoke-free travel web sites, my dream is to have a list of service stations, including the state, highway and exit numbers, that I can make available online so we can all find smoke-free options for those needed breaks on the road. If you are traveling and wish to make note of these establishments to help others, please forward the information to me and I will post it on a new travel page.

 

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