From Your Local Lung Association
Helping to Make Our Communities Smokefree
The American Lung Association of the Southeast plays an integral role in enacting policy changes at the state and local municipal level that will positively impact lung health. This past year, the American Lung Association in Alabama partnered with the local school coalition, the Safe and Healthy Homewood Coalition, a voluntary network comprised of parents, school administrators, police, drug and alcohol addiction treatment specialists, and representatives from the city council to advance policy to eliminate secondhand smoke exposure in all workplaces and public places in the city of Homewood. Through the local coalition, a series of educational meetings were held to recruit the support of other residents including parents, health care professionals, lawyers, coaches, local businesses owners, employees and community activists.
With the swell of community support, the American Lung Association and local coalition members educated and engaged city councilmembers about the dangers of secondhand smoke and the need to strengthen the municipality’s ordinance to eliminate exposure in all workplaces. The local coalition and partners, such as the American Lung Association, worked strategically with two city councilmembers to introduce a comprehensive smoke-free air ordinance for consideration. The draft ordinance faced opposition from the electronic smoking industry as well as a few businesses who were concerned about potentially losing business. After discussions in the Public Safety Committee, and a well-attended public hearing, Homewood leaders in the end chose to protect their residents and workers from secondhand smoke exposure. The City Council took action in November 2015 to amend their existing smoke-free air ordinance to include protections in all places of employment, including restaurants, bars, and hotels. It also addressed the growing concern of e-cigarettes by limiting their use. The ordinance also extended protections in outdoor venues by adding a 20 feet distance requirement from building doors and operable windows and prohibits smoking in patios.