Gail Halverson, Grand Forks, letter: Yes on 4 means better health for allThere is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Being exposed to secondhand smoke is just bad for you.
By: Gail Halverson ,
GRAND FORKS — I am writing to support North Dakota’s Measure 4, which would expand the smoke-free workplace law that will protect all workers and residents from the effects of secondhand smoke.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals and compounds, including hundreds that are toxic and at least 69 that cause cancer. There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Being exposed to secondhand smoke is just bad for you.
As a nurse practitioner, I see the health consequences of tobacco with my patients every day. Almost all of the patients I see who smoke want to quit and believe a more comprehensive law will help them get motivated to quit and protect them from the harmful toxins of tobacco and secondhand smoke.
I also have witnessed, as a daughter, the deadly effects of tobacco with both my parents. Growing up and being exposed to secondhand smoke and its toxins very well may be the main factor in my own health issues.
It’s notable that a Grand Forks study done by Dr. Eric Johnson and Dr. James Beal and just released in the Oxford Journal of Nicotine and Tobacco Research showed that within four months after the local smoke-free workplace law was implemented in 2010, the heart attack rate decreased by nearly 31 percent.
North Dakota voters now have a chance to see how great the health impact a statewide law could have on North Dakotans and visitors. Vote yes on Measure 4.
Halvorson is a nurse practitioner at Valley Health and WIC in Grand Forks.