(Access to Coverage of Tobacco Treatment In Our Nation)
Shaping Policies | Improving Health
September 20, 2012 As a superannuated politician, I remember well the hundreds of meetings in back rooms and city council chambers where the air was so thick that I could hardly see, let alone breathe. Luck alone saved me. Others were not so fortunate. Behind our mayor’s dais hung a smoke-blackened WPA mural of the city’s founder, which depicted him cheating Native Americans out of their land. When the time came to relocate to a new city hall, taxpayers spent tens of thousands to clean the smoke off of that painting by hand with chemical-laden cotton balls. Affected lungs are even harder to restore. Luckily, smoking is now less socially acceptable. It’s on the decline, but the slope isn’t steep any more. The percentage of adult smokers inched down to 19.3 percent in 2010 from 20.9 percent in 2005, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Public health champions had aimed for a much greater decline and their failure is no accident.
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