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"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Monday, November 20, 2000


Sun, Nov 19th, 2000
Posted in

To the Editor,

Each day, more than 3,000 young people become daily smokers. If current tobacco use patterns persist, an estimated 5 million people who were younger than 18 years old in 1995 will die prematurely from smoking-related illnesses.

In 1998, 35% of youth in the United States smoked tobacco on a daily basis. The concern is even greater for Minnesota’s youth whose daily smoking rate is 42%. Fillmore County’s youth smoking rates are no exception. In 1995, 26% of 9th graders and 52% of 12th graders used smoking tobacco each week. These rates will hopefully be reduced to 30% with money and resources from the Tobacco Settlement Endow-ment.

There is also a problem with adult tobacco use in the United States, Minnesota, and Fillmore County. In 1997, an estimated 48 million adults were current smokers in the United States. Of these adults, 20.1% smoked every day and 4.4% smoked on some days. Adult smoking in Minnesota was estimated to be 20.5% in 1995. In 1995, Fillmore County’s adult smoking rate was 18.9%, which was lower than both the state and national level.

Tobacco use and exposure to tobacco by-products is one of the major contributors to cancers of the lung, oral cavity, larynx, and esophagus. Exposure to tobacco is also known to increase the risk of developing bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, and ear infections. Each year, about 3,000 non-smoking adults die from lung cancer as a result of breathing in the smoke of others’ cigarettes. Of cancer deaths in Fillmore County from 1993 to 1995, 27% of men and 11.3% of women died from lung cancer. The Fillmore County rates are from smokers and non-smokers combined.

Fillmore County has done quite a few things to curb youth tobacco use and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Youth access and use of tobacco has been managed by conducting compliance checks at tobacco retailers. In 1999, every business in Fillmore County with a tobacco license passed the compliance check process. Fillmore County Youth caught illegally abusing tobacco products are forced to pay a fine and enroll in a Tobacco Education Class sponsored by Fillmore County Public Health. Since the Tobacco Education Class started in October of 1999, 30 youth have participated in the program. The majority of these youth have stated that the class helped them to learn about: why they use tobacco, the health effects of tobacco, the legal consequences of tobacco, and how to get help to quit smoking. In addition to the youth tobacco issues, fifteen local restaurants have chosen to become smoke free. This illustrates the business’ concern for their employees and the public while boosting their clientele of non-smoking patrons.

Fillmore County has done a great job reducing tobacco associated health risks. Last week was yet another example of these efforts when merchants and community members celebrated the Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 16, 2000.

The idea behind the Great American Smokeout came about in 1971 when Arthur P. Mullaney of Rudolph, Massachusetts, asked people to give up cigarettes for a day and donate the money they would have spent on cigarettes to a high school scholarship fund. In 1977, the American Cancer Society adapted this idea and held the first national Great American Smokeout. In 1999, approximately 21% of smokers or 10,080,000 people participated in Great American Smokeout activities. Of these participants, six percent reported that they were smoking less or not at all one to five days later. In honor of this special day you are strongly encouraged to quit using tobacco or help a friend quit using tobacco.

Other activities you may wish to participate in may include: donating smoke free day money to the American Cancer Society or American Lung Society, having replacement treats for smokers that curb tobacco use, or not purchasing products from companies owned by tobacco manufacturers.

If you were unable to hold smoke free activities on November 16 in your place of residence, work, or school establish a day that will work best for you. If you have questions or need assistance with Great American Smokeout activities call Fillmore County Public Health at 507-765-3898 and ask for Brenda Leigh Waege.

Sincerely,
Brenda Leigh Waege, Fillmore County Public Health

To the Editor,

Each day, more than 3,000 young people become daily smokers. If current tobacco use patterns persist, an estimated 5 million people who were younger than 18 years old in 1995 will die prematurely from smoking-related illnesses.

In 1998, 35% of youth in the United States smoked tobacco on a daily basis. The concern is even greater for Minnesota’s youth whose daily smoking rate is 42%. Fillmore County’s youth smoking rates are no exception. In 1995, 26% of 9th graders and 52% of 12th graders used smoking tobacco each week. These rates will hopefully be reduced to 30% with money and resources from the Tobacco Settlement Endow-ment.

There is also a problem with adult tobacco use in the United States, Minnesota, and Fillmore County. In 1997, an estimated 48 million adults were current smokers in the United States. Of these adults, 20.1% smoked every day and 4.4% smoked on some days. Adult smoking in Minnesota was estimated to be 20.5% in 1995. In 1995, Fillmore County’s adult smoking rate was 18.9%, which was lower than both the state and national level.

Tobacco use and exposure to tobacco by-products is one of the major contributors to cancers of the lung, oral cavity, larynx, and esophagus. Exposure to tobacco is also known to increase the risk of developing bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, and ear infections. Each year, about 3,000 non-smoking adults die from lung cancer as a result of breathing in the smoke of others’ cigarettes. Of cancer deaths in Fillmore County from 1993 to 1995, 27% of men and 11.3% of women died from lung cancer. The Fillmore County rates are from smokers and non-smokers combined.

Fillmore County has done quite a few things to curb youth tobacco use and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Youth access and use of tobacco has been managed by conducting compliance checks at tobacco retailers. In 1999, every business in Fillmore County with a tobacco license passed the compliance check process. Fillmore County Youth caught illegally abusing tobacco products are forced to pay a fine and enroll in a Tobacco Education Class sponsored by Fillmore County Public Health. Since the Tobacco Education Class started in October of 1999, 30 youth have participated in the program. The majority of these youth have stated that the class helped them to learn about: why they use tobacco, the health effects of tobacco, the legal consequences of tobacco, and how to get help to quit smoking. In addition to the youth tobacco issues, fifteen local restaurants have chosen to become smoke free. This illustrates the business’ concern for their employees and the public while boosting their clientele of non-smoking patrons.

Fillmore County has done a great job reducing tobacco associated health risks. Last week was yet another example of these efforts when merchants and community members celebrated the Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 16, 2000.

The idea behind the Great American Smokeout came about in 1971 when Arthur P. Mullaney of Rudolph, Massachusetts, asked people to give up cigarettes for a day and donate the money they would have spent on cigarettes to a high school scholarship fund. In 1977, the American Cancer Society adapted this idea and held the first national Great American Smokeout. In 1999, approximately 21% of smokers or 10,080,000 people participated in Great American Smokeout activities. Of these participants, six percent reported that they were smoking less or not at all one to five days later. In honor of this special day you are strongly encouraged to quit using tobacco or help a friend quit using tobacco.

Other activities you may wish to participate in may include: donating smoke free day money to the American Cancer Society or American Lung Society, having replacement treats for smokers that curb tobacco use, or not purchasing products from companies owned by tobacco manufacturers.

If you were unable to hold smoke free activities on November 16 in your place of residence, work, or school establish a day that will work best for you. If you have questions or need assistance with Great American Smokeout activities call Fillmore County Public Health at 507-765-3898 and ask for Brenda Leigh Waege.

Sincerely,
Brenda Leigh Waege, Fillmore County Public Health

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