Smoke free coalition meets and educates

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 10, 2003

Selma-Dallas County Smoke Free Coalition gathered for a public forum Thursday.

The purpose of the meeting &045; as is the purpose of the coalition &045; was education.

The coalition is composed of a number of Selma and Dallas County community organizations designed to prevent and end smoking in the area.

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While they

champion non-smoking ordinances for cities and counties, the group’s main weapon against smoking is education.

The public forum was a chance for citizens and officials to ask questions concerning the health and legal issues surrounding smoking.

Diane Abernathy, of the state’s non-smoking commission, said the event was a great chance to educate the residents in the area on the dangers of smoking and the importance of ordinances.

Pam Bostick, of the American Cancer Society, was on hand to discuss the health issues surrounding smoking and second-hand smoke. She pointed out the staggering numbers of people diagnosed with lung cancer as a direct result of smoking.

According to Bostick, last year saw 23,000 people diagnosed.

Bostick also said second-hand smoke can harm children. &uot;The second-hand smoke causes a lot of children to have ear infections that result in deafness,&uot; said Bostick.

Bostick also said smoking is responsible for increased cases of bronchitis and emphysema.

The group also discussed the state wide Clean Indoor Air Act. This act encourages Alabama city’s and counties to pass some sort of non-smoking reform.

She said, &uot;Tonight one of the biggest issues was the Auburn smoke free ordinance.&uot;

Abernathy has praised Selma’s smoking ordinance in the past. She said, &uot;It’s great for a first ordinance.&uot;

Abernathy said she hoped a few more things would be added to Selma’s ordinance. &uot;The only changes I that I’d like to see is maybe more enforcement.&uot;

Perkins has publicly stated he’d like to see the ordinance expanded to cover parks and recreational sites.

Mayor James Perkins &045; a non-smoker &045; lobbied the city council to pass an ordinance as soon as he took office. Selma didn’t have a smoking ordinance before Perkins took office.

Previous Mayor Joe Smitherman was a known smoker.

For more information concerning the effects of smoking, go on-line to