New Orleans is healthier a year after smoke-free ordinance

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Smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in the United States. Smoking doubles the risk of heart disease and stroke for those who smoke and those exposed to second-hand smoke. According to the American Heart Association, in Louisiana more than 10,000 people die a year from heart disease and stroke.

But just more than a year ago, the New Orleans City Council said those startling numbers needed to change.  In that year, we have seen businesses stand behind the health of their employees and a 99 percent reduction in fine particle air pollution in venues that previously allowed smoke.

We are still celebrating the milestone in health for the state. And we are hopeful that the success of the ordinance in New Orleans can influence other Louisiana cities to make health a priority. The City of New Orleans is paving the way for health outcomes by declaring that the health of their workforce is the top priority. Our city leadership has taken a stand against smoking on behalf of workers and their families. We applaud them for that commitment.

There are a number of risk factors for diseases and illness that are uncontrollable, so it makes it even more imperative to address and prevent the risk factors that we can control, and smoking is one of them.

Thanks to the City Council for its leadership and investment in a healthier city.

Valerie Englade
American Heart Association board member
New Orleans

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