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The possibility of a ban on smoking in public places in Paris, Texas is coming before the City Council tonight. I urge moms to attend the meeting and show their support for the ban. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30pm at the City Council Chambers, located at 107 East Kaufman Street.
In most cities and towns, big and small, across the country it is illegal to light up a cigarette in a public building, including restaurants. In my opinion, Paris, Texas is way behind the times when it comes to this issue. I am a big believer in private rights and freedoms, but when another’s actions can affect me and my family, that’s where I think your rights end.
Everyone knows the dangers of smoking. If you choose to light up, that’s your choice. But the dangers of secondhand smoke are real and you don’t have the right to harm my child.
What exactly is secondhand smoke? Secondhand smoke is the combination of smoke that comes from a cigarette and smoke breathed out by a smoker. And the fact is that secondhand smoke is dangerous to anyone who breathes it in. There is no safe amount of secondhand smoke. It contains over 7,000 harmful chemicals, at least 250 of which are known to damage your health. It can also stay in the air for several hours after somebody smokes. Even breathing secondhand smoke for a short amount of time can hurt your body. Moreover, secondhand smoke is especially dangerous for children, babies, and women who are pregnant.
According to the CDC, secondhand smoke has the following health effects on children: ear infections, more frequent and severe asthma attacks, respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath), respiratory infections (bronchitis, pneumonia) and a greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
The only way to fully protect non-smokers from the dangers of secondhand smoke is to not allow smoking indoors. I cannot tell you the number of restaurants in Paris, Texas that my children have never stepped into because of the smoke inside. The idea of separating smokers from nonsmokers in “no smoking” sections in restaurants is ridiculous. The smoke is not contained. Restaurant owners might think they will lose revenue if they are forced to be all non-smoking, but that is simply not the case. The number of non-smokers who could and would be customers is greater than the small number of smokers polluting the air.
It’s time Paris, Texas. And I hope to see all moms at the city council meeting tonight!
From One Mom to Another,
Jenny Wilson is a mother of three. She teaches a mommy and me class at Central Presbyterian Day School and is on the Paris Isd School Board as well as the Aikin Parent Association and Paris Jr. High PTO. She is a board member of the Children’s Advocacy Center and of the Paris Community Theatre. Mrs. Wilson is also a certified yoga instructor.