Going smoke free studied in Carbondale - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Carbondale, IL

Going smoke free studied in Carbondale

Going smoke free studied in Carbondale
By: Arnold Wyrick

Carbondale, IL - Going smoke free is hot issue for folks living in Carbondale.  And now a group called Smoke-Free Carbondale is forming a coalition with physicians and business leaders to create a smoke free environment in all public places.

"Over 90% of lung cancer deaths, and over 40% of coronary artery disease deaths are attributable to smoking.  This year alone nearly three thousand Illinoisan will die from the effects of second hand smoke.  Which is why I support a smoke free Carbondale," says Doctor Kenneth Saum a Cardiothoracic Surgeon, at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale.

Doctor Saum went on to point out that according to the Surgeon General's study an estimated 65,000 people will die nationwide from complications due to exposure of second hand smoke.

The study also showed that an employee working in a smoking environment, who doesn't smoke themselves, is still exposed to enough second hand smoke over an 8 hour shift to equal smoking 16 cigarettes.

"As an example a 35 year old woman who smokes increases her risk of dying from lung cancer and estimated 12 times.  Her risk of developing chronic bronchitis, or emphysema is increased about 10 times," Doctor Saum said.

"It's also estimated that second hand smoke increases your risk of dying from heart disease an estimated 50%."

For some business owners concerned about going smoke free and it affecting their bottom line, the owners of Mary Lou's Grill in Carbondale made the decision earlier this year.

"We have a lot more families coming in with children, more older people who we haven't seen in awhile.  I still have people coming up to me thanking us for going no smoking.  It's been great for us, it really truly has," says Robert Martin.

Still there are plenty of other places in Carbondale where someone can enjoy a smoke while they eat.  Show-Me's is one of the restaurants where smoking is still allowed.

"When I'm on my lunch break I like to go in have a smoke, have me a glass of tea, and eat my meal.  I also enjoy sitting here watching the race, and smoke a cigarette," says Deon DeCoursey of Carbondale.

"I'm okay with it, it doesn't really bother me that much.  I know a lot of people don't really care for it, but I'm still okay with it," says Kourtney Byrne bartender at Show-Me's, and a smoker herself.

Currently there are 14 states and more than 4,600 cities nationwide who have gone smoke free in public places.

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