Organizations asking residents to join in smoke-free days at fair

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Putnam County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coalition, along with Putnam County Voice, youth speaking out against tobacco use, and the Putnam County Fair Board, are asking fair goers to observe smoke-free days on Wednesday, July 26, and Saturday, July 29, to coincide with Kid's Days on the Midway at the Putnam County Fair.

Fair goers are asked to not smoke, or to smoke only in their vehicles or outside of the gates while at the fair on smoke-free day. In observance, Putnam County Tobacco Coalition and VOICE members, many of them also long-time 4-H members, are hosting a booth in the industrial tent all week where they will have a variety of games, activities, and prizes for children, youth and adults, all designed to illustrate the consequences of tobacco use.

The group will also host a memorial wall where fair goers can share experiences on how tobacco has impacted their lives.

Research has shown that most youth begin smoking because they see adults smoking in their homes and communities and because they are influenced by the tobacco industry advertising and promotions. Observing smoke-free days is one way that adults can demonstrate their commitment to keeping youth tobacco free. Each year, nearly 20,000 Indiana youth become daily smokers. One in three will lose their life to a smoking-related illness. Because of the success of groups such as VOICE, smoking among high school students in Indiana decreased 26 percent between 2000 and 2002, and also decreased by 12 percent among middle school students in the same period.

In addition, it is estimated that second-hand smoke kills more than 50,000 Americans every year by causing lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease and asthma in otherwise health non-smokers. Parents who quit smoking before their children are 8 or 9-years-old not only protect them from the effects of second-hand smoke, but also decrease the odds that their children will become smokers by 25 percent. If both parents quit, the odds decrease by 40 percent.

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Smoking alone is responsible for more than 420,000 premature deaths in the United States annually.

The Putnam County Hospital offers free stop smoking/tobacco use classes each Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the hospital's first floor classroom. Class participants are offered free nicotine replacement patches, courtesy of the Putnam County Health Department.

Fore more information about Putnam County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coalition or VOICE, call 655-2697 or e-mail

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