By Smoke Free Mesquite Volunteer
Tonight, I want to talk to you the Mesquite Nevada City Council about one of the most important reasons why we need clean indoor air in public spaces. That reason is heart disease.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. One in every four Americans will die from it. And secondhand smoke exposure is a major risk factor.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, exposure to secondhand smoke increases your risk of heart disease by 25 to 30 percent.
Each year, an estimated 46,000 Americans die of coronary heart disease caused by secondhand smoke exposure.
Tobacco smoke interferes with the normal function of the heart, blood and vascular systems in ways that increase the risk for heart attack. Even brief secondhand smoke exposure can damage the lining of blood vessels and cause blood platelets to become stickier. These changes can cause a heart attack.
Health experts advise people who have had heart attacks to stay away from tobacco smoke. This includes encouraging them to stay out of businesses that allow smoking.
We know that smokefree policies can reduce the number of heart attacks in a community. We also know that smokefree policies can save communities and taxpayers money by reducing the number of ambulance trips needed due to heart attacks.
A 2013 study published in the journal Circulation found that ambulance calls in Gilpin County, Colorado, dropped nearly 20 percent after casinos in that community went smokefree.
Gilpin County implemented its smokefree law in two stages. In 2006, all public spaces and workplaces – apart from casinos – went smokefree. At that point, ambulance calls from these locations dropped 22.8 percent. Ambulance calls from casinos remained the same.
But when casinos went smokefree in 2008, ambulance calls from casinos dropped 19.1 percent.
We know that secondhand smoke is a serious health risk that costs us both lives and money. We also know that we can take action to prevent this risk in public spaces. We need to take action. Now.