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Stories transcend generations, they engage us through emotions, and they connect us to others. For people to change their environment to prevent chronic disease, they need to care about those changes—to see themselves in the solution. That’s where using stories comes in play.

Do you have a story to tell? Is secondhand smoke a trigger for your asthma? Have you developed a respiratory illness from exposure to secondhand smoke? Do you care for a loved one who suffers from the use of any tobacco products? How has quitting smoking improved your life?  No story is too short; we want to hear yours. Make a difference by sharing your story.


I come from a family of smokers—I’ve always been one of the few that never smoked. As a child I had smoke allergies that were constantly aggravated at the holidays when the family gathered and smoked indoors.

Allergies aside, as an adult I’ve developed severe chemical sensitivities as well. I feel like the chemicals are a big point missing from smoking and secondhand smoke discussions. Beyond just the physical presence of smoke, we are breathing formaldehyde, heavy metals and pesticides. Those have immediate effects on me from breathing trouble to fatigue. Worse, these chemicals and effects don’t always dissipate when the air clears. Some of these chemicals remain in furniture and fabrics for years and cause reactions for years after the smoke is gone.

Stephanie Cranford

Stephanie Cranford
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Since I worked security or the door, I had the option to go outside and get away from smoke. However my coworkers had no choice and had to deal with the health effects. On our busy, most popular nights, they would be behind the bar from 9 to 12 nonstop, constantly making drinks, and they didn’t really get a chance to take a break. Now that Birmingham is smoke free, we can all breathe better. The after effects are diminished since we all don’t have to deal with the smoke. What’s great now is that I have the privilege of staying inside, and I don’t have to be around smoke.

Fred Weaver, Birmingham

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