I remember how difficult it was in the 1980s to enact even small protection for workers against secondhand smoke from tobacco. In those days, we were jubilant to have been the first county in the United States with uniform ordinances that created no smoking sections in restaurants in every city and the unincorporated area of the county.
I'm Dr. William Walker, Director of Contra Costa Health Services, here to talk to you about some issues related to tobacco.
For the last twenty years, we've blazed an impressive trail in this area. Our Public Health Director Dr. Wendel Brunner called the fight to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke and restrict youth access to tobacco "one of the major triumphs" in the public health arena, comparable to the eradication of polio.
But he also pointed out that in the battle to find an effective polio vaccine, health experts weren't fighting an industry making extraordinary profits by addicting children and killing hundreds of thousands of people.
As a physician I've seen a dramatic change in the way people look at the issue of smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. When I was in medical school even physicians smoked. Now, there are dramatically fewer patients who smoke. And even those who are still smoking know they shouldn't and many have grappled with the addiction in one way or another.
What our efforts to reduce the harmful impact of tobacco have shown is that change takes partnerships, patience and time.
We hope you will join us in this effort. Find out more about how to quit and how to protect against secondhand smoke exposure on our website at cchealth.org
Thanks for listening.