Another window for smoke-free air

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We’re just days away from the next mayoral election in Indianapolis, and if the stumping at a recent debate holds true, supporters of smoke-free air may have reason to celebrate sooner rather than later.

Both Mayor Ballard and candidate Melina Kennedy spoke about smoke-free air. Kennedy appears to support a strengthened ordinance wholeheartedly, while even Ballard appears ready to “compromise” and move forward with a more comprehensive law.

To both candidates and to those who will make up the City-County Council, I say let’s get this done. Smoke-free air is one of the biggest public health issues where our mayor and council can have a dramatic, positive impact.

The link between secondhand smoke and disease is well-known, and the connection to cardiovascular-related disability and death is also clear.

According to the American Heart Association, nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25 percent to 30 percent.

Regions that have adopted comprehensive smoke-free laws have seen heart attack rates drop as much as 40 percent. Talk about improving the quality of life!

Both mayoral candidates promise to make Indianapolis a better place to live. They talk about crime, education and jobs. Let’s make sure our public health and the right to breathe smoke-free air is a top priority.

Dan Krajnovich
CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Indiana/Kentucky
Chairman, American Heart Association of Indianapolis

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