Spreading Tobacco Awareness and Taking Action

April 19, 2009
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Hi, my name is Abigail. Lately, I’ve been interested becoming tobacco free and helping to spread awareness. I’ve attended many workshops since I was about 9 years old about spreading tobacco awareness. Although many times I wasn’t registered to attend these workshops, I still learned a lot from them. Today I’m still attending. These workshops are with the New Mexico Voices for Children and one of my favorite activities with this group is attending and participating in the legislative retreat. For this, we get educated on tobacco and how to talk to our representatives and senators about making amendments to the state law to help become smoke free.
This year, I learned about the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act which states that smoking is prohibited within 100 feet from public building entrances, windows, or ventilation systems to prevent smoke from entering the indoor public place and also that employees or members of the general public are not required to breathe in secondhand smoke in order to gain entrance to the building.
This section has really motivated me. In my community this is not being enforced so I decided to take action. When I see smokers nearby a building, I kindly inform them about the law, violations, and penalties. Sometimes they ignore me other times they will thank me. When I know I’m being ignored I will ask to speak to the manager and inform them on the conflict and my purpose to help the community become healthier and cleaner.
I’ve had many experiences with this. One of them was at a local Wal-Mart store. This is a very popular place for smokers to hang out. One day as I was walking in to do my shopping with my mom, I saw two women standing by the door smoking, of course. I decided to politely inform them. One of the women thanked me and the other I could tell was bothered that I did this. As I continued about my business I noticed they did too. They continued to smoke in that same area so I took it upon myself to speak to the manager about it. I told the manager that she had two customers in violation of section two of the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act. She told me she already knew about this and that her customers did too but since they already knew there wasn’t anything she could do about it. This bothered me because I knew she could’ve asked them to move away from the building if they continued to smoke or she could’ve moved the ashtrays. I didn’t show that it bothered me though, instead I continued with my day thinking what I could’ve done differently.
I have come across many obstacles but I have not given up because I know that I am doing the right thing. Yes, things may not go the right way but why give up so easily try giving it a shot you never know what might happen.





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