12/07/2011 - Valencia Voice | by Lawrence Laguna
Many voices are being heard in the city of Orlando as people demand that public places be made smoke-free. Some citizens want to be able to experience a clean air environment without worrying about second-hand smoke. Their voice has been heard through the All In To Clear Air campaign launched this year.
This new program is supported and sponsored by the Florida Health Department and Tobacco Free Florida organizations and has done a lot in its small time in existence. The famous image of a person with a gas mask pouring liquor into a glass and a small child playing in the park represents the demand for and end to smoking in bars and parks. These images have been seen on billboards, bus stops, Internet advertisements,and television commercials.
Dain Weister, a public information officer in the All In To Clear Air program, has a clear objective why this program needs attention and how it takes upon its mission.
"We want it to expand and expose people to change to stop smoking and prevent second-hand smoke," Weister said. “With this we can save lives."
The whole campaign began with a grant by the federal government in order to create smoke free public spaces to limit secondhand smoke, which kills over 50,000 Americans a year.
A lot of success has been achieved from the program so far. Local colleges such as UCF and Valencia are trying to ban smoking on campuses, and counties in central Florida have agreed to join the movement. From Orange to Evansville County, cities are joining as the campaign strives to add more.
The next level is to get a major law passed. "Right now we are a resolution, but would like to get a law to passed,” Weister said. “No major law has changed the state law, so the state level would have to make the change."
Since partnering up with the health department, All In To Clear Air has reached out to many municipalities such as the Amway Center in Orlando that went smoke-free. Social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter are helping spread the word to let others know the dangers of second-hand smoke.
Many residents in the Orlando believe public space should be smoke-free as well.
"Smoking in a area around other civilians such as children is a selfish act," said Cynthia Bell a 29-year-old parent and 15-year Orlando resident. "You are basically destroying the habitat of others around you becauseof your addiction to burn a cigarette."