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November 8, 2002     Cape Gazette
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November 8, 2002

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CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, Nov. 8 - Nov. 14, 2002 - 49 Cancer Watch Smoking ban begins Nov. 27; law will improve health By Dr. Albert Rizzo Delaware has the unfortunate and abysmal status of being ranked the fourth worst state in the nation for lung cancer. To reduce our rate of cancer inci- dence and mortality, people must take several proactive steps, including reducing tobacco use and exposure, and decreasing exposure to cancer-causing chem- icals and substances. In an age where we know so much about medical research and what can be done to prevent or at least reduce our risk for cancer, how can a smoking ban not exist? In 1999, 3,786 Delawareans were diagnosed with cancer, and 1,735 of them died. Nearly 90 percent of American adults believe a national tobacco control policy should include restrictions on smoking in public places. That statistic falls in line with the Delaware poll that 77 percent of its residents support the state's smoking ban in indoor public places. Smoke-free places benefit everyone. Delaware's current Clean Indoor Air Act will protect all Delawareans from the danger- ous effects of secondhand smoke Speak up about AIDS/HIV at CHAT meetings The Delaware HIV Consortium holds Community HIV/AIDS Advisory Team (CHAT) meetings in all three Delaware counties. CHAT meetings provide an opportunity for the public to voice its opinion about HIV and AIDS in local communities. The next meeting in Sussex County will be from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14, at Children & Families First, 410 S. Bedford St., Georgetown. Free transportation, free food and free childcare are available at every meeting. For more informa- tion, call Georgette Foster at the Delaware HIV Consortium, 302- 654-5471 or email gfoster@ while they work, eat or drink indoors. Legislators did the fight thing when they voted to support a strong Clean Indoor Air RIZZO Act. The smoking ban is the most proactive measure the General Assembly could have taken to protect the health, of all constituents in the First State. Tobacco smoke contains about 4,000 chemicals, including 40 linked to cancer. Every time someone smokes, poisons such as benzene, formaldehyde and car- bon monoxide are released into the air. Secondhand smoke caus- es irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, and can irritate the lungs, which leads to coughing, excess phlegm, chest discomfort and reduced lung function. Numerous studies have been conducted that confm'n the bene- fits of smoke-free restaurants and bars. For example, one study showed bartenders who worked for as little as one month in SCAC hosts Ryan White seminar SCAC is sponsoring a semiar on the Ryan White Care Act and what resources it provides to those who are HIV-positive or who have AIDS. The program is at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the Georgetown State Service Center Public Health Conference Room. To register, call Jeanne at 644- 1094. Lunch is provided. Grief support group meets Nov. 20 in Lewes Beebe Medical Center will host a grief support group from 7:30 to 9 p.m., in Beebe Medical Center's meditation room on the third floor. To make a reservation, call Chaplain Dorothy Greet at 645- 3758. Grief support group meets Nov. 26 The Rev. Charlie Arnold facili- tates a grief support group the fourth Tuesday of each month. The next meeting is at 10 a.m., Nov. 26, at Seaside Baptist Church in the southbound lane of Route 1, a half mile north of Five Points. The support group is sponsored by Parsell Funeral Homes & Crematorium. smoke-free conditions- after the implementation of the California law that banned smoking - report- ed a significant drop in coughing and other respiratory problems and showed improved lung func- tion. How much is a human life worth? Critics say the state may lose money when the smoking ban takes effect. Are those same critics also willing to place a price tag on the health of those affected by secondhand smoke: an unborn child, a senior citizen, a child with asthma, or the bartender or wait- staff at their favorite restaurant or tavern? I should hope not. Tobacco use costs more than $50 billion in direct U.S. medical costs annually. That's $50 billion. The tax dollars of nonsmokers and smokers alike pay this price tag. In Delaware last year, more than $69.8 million was spent on smoking-related Medicaid costs. That's $12.8 million more than the projected loss of revenue some are saying the state may lose. If your loved ones are diag- nosed with lung cancer due to exposure from secondhand smoke, all the money in the world won't buy them a cure for cancer. Delaware legislators and Gov. Ruth Ann Minner saw the oppor- tunity to make a positive change for all Delaware citizens and they took it. On behalf of the majority of Delawareans who support the smoking ban, thank you. 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