Make Augusta healthier

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It is time for the citizens and elected officials of Augusta-Richmond County to recognize that our economic progress – and our image as a great place to live, work and play – depends on the health of our community. Currently, Augusta-Richmond County ranks poorly in comparison to other Georgia and U.S. counties. Among our public health challenges (which are also a threat to our economy) are high mortality (early death) and morbidity (sickness) rates because of chronic disease – cardiovascular disease, in particular.

Policy and environmental changes that encourage healthier choices (“making the healthy choice the easy choice,” as health advocates say) and that create healthier environments are met with resistance. That’s even when scientific research and analysis show that such changes lead to better health, and that better health can have positive impacts individually and community-wide.

A ban on secondhand smoke in all public indoor environments will benefit the community, not harm us. It may not be popular to take a stand in this regard, but it is the sensible, ethical step to protect the population and provide long-term economic benefits to the community. Simply put, the benefits will outweigh the costs. Augusta-Richmond County is surrounded by communities that have enacted smoke-free ordinances. Exactly why are we holding ourselves hostage to increasing health care costs and underemployment?

Many people have mentioned to me the annoyance of the lingering cigarette smell on their clothes and hair after exposure to secondhand smoke. But that’s not the most important point. It’s the internal damage to the heart, lungs and vascular system – what you can’t see or smell – that’s at stake. You can’t easily cleanse a damaged cardiovascular system like you can clothes or hair, and the costs for repair accrue to us all.

(The writer is a member of the Richmond County Board of Health.)

Comments (13) Add comment
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Dixieman
17410
Points
Dixieman 07/09/13 - 05:44 am
13
3
Butt out, Deborah! (pun intended)

I don't smoke and don't like its odor.
But tobacco is a legal product and I do not like government telling people what to do. Let each business decide its own smoking policy and let people decide whether to patronize it or not!
No more nanny state!!
They will come for your potato chips next....

Bodhisattva
7212
Points
Bodhisattva 07/09/13 - 06:06 am
8
1
Under these proposed bans,

Under these proposed bans, would hookah bars and cigar bars be forced to close? Could they seek monetary damages from the city or from the groups that have been lobbying for the ban? The annoyance of perfume and cologne bother me much more than the lingering smell of someone who has smoked a cigarette. As I've mentioned before, from the best I can tell, there are only a handful of places that even meet the criteria for allowing individuals to smoke inside. If you and your friend are complaining about the lingering smell you've either had to visit one of these establishments, or you're talking about banning smoking totally, outside, inside, everywhere. Which is it? It appears obvious that the final agenda is to only allow smokers to smoke in the privacy of their own homes, if that. I'm sure if they have children you'll soon ban that if not seek an outright ban. In Maine the Breath Easy Coalition is pushing to ban smoking in apartment buildings saying it drifts to other apartments. I'm sure it will drift to other houses if they're built too close together as well so we'll have to have an all out ban. I wish these groups would stop playing games and just admit that's what they want. Smoking banned entirely. That way you don't have to face the horrors of someone smoking a cigarette 20 feet away from you as you sit on Broad Street breathing the exhaust fumes of 100's of cars and trucks as they pass by and, if the winds just right, get a nice dose of Federal Paper floating through along with the all of the other industries in the area. That cigarette down the street might kill you. Let's be sure to ban it.

http://www.smokefreeforme.org/

deestafford
31943
Points
deestafford 07/09/13 - 06:45 am
7
0
Someone needs to open an ice skate concession in hades because I

am in agreement with Bod and hades froze over.

soldout
1283
Points
soldout 07/09/13 - 06:48 am
1
6
what were they thinking?

Years ago smoking was the rage and even promoted by doctors as being relaxing. We see it in the old movies and say "what were they thinking" as far as health concerns. Now everyone has their glass of wine which is raising the breast cancer rate by 20-25% and in a few years we will say "what were they thinking". People are told to tolerate gay sin and the disease that it spreads and in a few years people will say "what were people thinking?". What is actually happening is a devil who is seeking whom he can destroy. He doesn't have any new methods but just keeps switching the object used for destruction. You want to be cool and he wants you cold before you make the decision to have a relationship with Jesus.

dstewartsr
20393
Points
dstewartsr 07/09/13 - 07:02 am
5
0
"Someone needs to open an ice skate concession

... in Hades because I am in agreement with Bod and Hades froze over."

Ditto!

LillyfromtheMills
14315
Points
LillyfromtheMills 07/09/13 - 07:28 am
3
1
Ditto

Here, too!

soapy_725
44121
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soapy_725 07/09/13 - 07:58 am
0
0
ARC health stats skewed by number of hospitals/doctors. 30901-14
Unpublished

People come from a 150 mile radius to ARC facilities. All data would reflect as 30901-30914.

Bizkit
35576
Points
Bizkit 07/09/13 - 08:05 am
3
1
This is ridiculous. I don't

This is ridiculous. I don't understand why people feel emboldened to tell others how to live-no different that hetero's telling homosexuals what to do. This is America and you have the freedom to live as "healthy" and "unhealthy" as you please. If you are going to demonize a bad habit-ALCOHOL would be up there with tobacco in cancer and cardiovascular risks. So let's ban alcohol use-except only at your home-but not around kids (because it could be a bad influence). The nanny state epitomized. This could be considered eugenics in trying to promote a "healthier race" by social manipulation. This person must be a racist because she would prevent African-americans from eating fried foods and the cheaper "unhealthier" choices. Now that's a spin-sorry I was just watchin' MSNBC and got caught up in the rhetoric. LOL.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 07/09/13 - 08:22 am
2
2
" I wish these groups would
Unpublished

" I wish these groups would stop playing games and just admit that's what they want. Smoking banned entirely."
Bod, it is your liberal buddies that want to tell everyone else how they should live. We conservative believe in free choice even when it is a personal bad choice and but do not hurt others.

Bizkit
35576
Points
Bizkit 07/09/13 - 08:33 am
3
0
Next she will move to bedroom

Next she will move to bedroom to address STD's and sexual practices.

dichotomy
37495
Points
dichotomy 07/09/13 - 10:28 am
4
2
"annoyance of the lingering

"annoyance of the lingering cigarette smell on their clothes and hair after exposure to secondhand smoke."

And THERE is the operative word.....ANNOYANCE. The crusaders are ANNOYED that smokers can still show their face in public. All of this has little or nothing to do with health if the businesses were given a CHOICE of being SMOKING or NON-SMOKING. Why, because smokers are going to smoke anyway so you are not improving their health. And non-smokers could choose to frequent NON-SMOKING bars and restaurants....so you ARE NOT improving their health either. The crusaders are annoyed that people might have the freedom of CHOICE.

This is simply a CRUSADE and the letter writer is simply another busy body CRUSADER with her nose in somebody else's business......literally....the business of the owners of bars and restaurants.

Little Lamb
49089
Points
Little Lamb 07/09/13 - 01:01 pm
2
0
Ethical?

Ms. Presnell wrote:

A ban on secondhand smoke in all public indoor environments . . .is ethical. . . . Simply put, the benefits will outweigh the costs.

The costs of lost liberty over one's private property rights are incalculably high. I don't think taking away property rights is ethical.

corgimom
38468
Points
corgimom 07/09/13 - 03:28 pm
3
3
I have the right to jump off

I have the right to jump off a roof, but I know that it is so likely that it would hurt or kill me, I don't do it.

Common sense. Self-preservation. Not wanting to be sick with something that I inflict on myself and can't take back, once I'm sick.

And then people want to complain about health care, and insurance, and their high taxes. Hey, take a look sometime at the indigent care that's provided in the ER of a hospital, and see how many of them smoke. The correlation is huge and significant.

Red Headed Step Child
4490
Points
Red Headed Step Child 07/09/13 - 07:18 pm
0
0
I'm just waiting for the ban

I'm just waiting for the ban on bacon...that will be a sad, sad, day...

Gage Creed
19407
Points
Gage Creed 07/09/13 - 07:45 pm
1
0
Hey, take a look sometime at

Hey, take a look sometime at the indigent care that's provided in the ER of a hospital, and see how many of them smoke
Hey, take a look sometime at the indigent care that's provided in the ER of a hospital, and see how many of them drink
Hey, take a look sometime at the indigent care that's provided in the ER of a hospital, and see how many of them do drugs
Hey, take a look sometime at the indigent care that's provided in the ER of a hospital, and see how many of them are overweight
Hey, take a look sometime at the indigent care that's provided in the ER of a hospital, and see how many of them have mental issues
Hey, take a look sometime at the indigent care that's provided in the ER of a hospital, and see how many of them not citizens
Hey, take a look sometime at the indigent care that's provided in the ER of a hospital, and see how many of them don't have insurance
Hey, take a look sometime at the indigent care that's provided in the ER of a hospital, and see how many of them (insert vice here)

RunningMan
346
Points
RunningMan 07/13/13 - 11:56 am
0
0
A Healthier Life Style Is Better (Do It Now or Pay Later)

I would hope all can agree a health life style in most cases means a better quality of life, more time to spend with love ones in this world, less time in the hospital (seeing the doctor), less money spent on health care, more productivity at work and play, the benefits goes on and on. While I agree folks have the right to do as they please, I have taught my family that living a healthier life style is simply better for them, and they agree. All they have to do is look at me and know that I am on to something.

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