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Meet Andy Martinez, Champion for Smoke-Free Workplaces

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the American Heart Association and the work that we do.  We are constantly amazed by our volunteers' commitment to advocate for healthier lives and to help save lives through policy change.  We are pleased to spotlight Andy Martinez as this month's volunteer champion.

Name: Andy Martinez

Occupation: Entrepreneur, Community Volunteer

How long have you been volunteering with the American Heart Association? Since 2007

Why do you advocate for smoke-free communities?

I personally experienced how smoking can affect one’s health…I lost my Dad when he was 54 years old due to heart disease brought on by smoking. I believe that by living in the U.S. we all enjoy rights and privileges, as long as they don’t affect the rights and privileges of others.

What is your all-time favorite thing to do on your time off?
Spend time with my family and my grandchildren (3 boys) … and playing golf.

Can you please share about the work you have been doing so far to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke via the Smoke-Free Round Rock campaign?

I have advocated on why it is important that all residents of Round Rock should be able to work, play and enjoy their family time in a healthy environment. I have been a spokesperson at the Round Rock Express Heart night, filmed a short video for the campaign, have written letters to Round Rock policy-makers as well as visited individually with elected officials and well-respected community leaders. I have also spoken on behalf of the campaign to 2 Williamson County organizations. El Amistad Club of Round Rock and Citizens for Diversity in Leadership Roles (CDLR) a civic engagement PAC.

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Round Rock Smoke-Free Efforts Continue

Our efforts to help protect all Central Texas workers and residents from secondhand smoke continue.  The Round Rock City Council will soon vote on an ordinance that will help regulate Electronic Cigarettes and other nicotine delivery devices. The ordinance ensures that E-Cigarettes don’t receive special exemptions and loopholes from current smoking restrictions.

This is a step in the right direction, but that is not enough to protect all Round Rock residents.

A recent poll shows that 74% of Round Rock residents favor a new smoke-free ordinance that would prohibit smoking in all indoor workplaces, including bars, in order to protect ALL workers.

Mark King, owner of Fleet Feet Sports, is one of those supporters. Check out why he supports a smoke-free Round Rock!

Our volunteers have been key in getting us this far but we’re not there yet! If you live in Round Rock Please take a minute to send an email to your City Council letting them know you support protecting ALL workers in your city!

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12 Cities Go Smoke-Free in 12 Months

It's been an incredible year!

In the past 12 months, because of your support, phone calls, testimony, and dedication to seeing a healthier Texas, we have helped to pass12 smoke-free ordinances in cities across the state! This means that in just one year, over 705,000 additional Texans are now covered by smoke-free air ordiances and are able to live healthier lives. It means that 12 more cities are now safer for all workers and patrons. These wins bring our total to 52 cities covered in Texas, and we couldn't have done it without you...but the fight is long from over! We need to continue working hard to ensure that ALL Texans have the right to breathe smoke-free air!

Want to see your city go smoke-free? Email Samantha Bender (Samantha.Bender@heart.org) to find out how to get involved with smoke-free efforts in your area!

 

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Mesquite Goes Smoke-Free

We have great news out of North Texas! The City of Mesquite unanimously passed a smoke-free ordinance, which will provide a safe working environment for all workers within the city! Thanks to the support of city council and our dedicated You're the Cure advocates, 144,416 more Texans will now breathe easier.

We would like to thank AHA Board Chair, Linda Fox (pictured), for her leadership and commitment to helping us build a healthier community. Mesquite, TX becomes the 51st Texas City to have a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance, and becomes the 11th Texas City since July 2016 to adopt such a law. This victory brings the total number of Texans covered by a smoke-free ordinance to 623,993.

Want to see your city go smoke-free? Email Samantha.Bender@heart.org to get connected with efforts in your area!

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Creating a Healthier Wooster for All

The city of Wooster became the first city in Arkansas since 2008 to pass a comprehensive smoke free ordinance.  The city council unanimously adopted this ordinance, making all indoor workplaces in the community smoke free.  The measure also applies to e-delivery devices, known as e-cigarettes.  "I'm proud that our community is the first in Faulkner County to pass a comprehensive smoke free ordinance. As the City of Wooster continues to grow, this ordinance ensures that all of our citizens are protected from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke,” said Wooster Mayor Terry Don Robinson. Congratulations to Wooster, and thanks to all of our You're the Cure advocates who helped make this happen!

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Clear Lungs, Full Hearts, Can't Lose - 50 Texas Cities Go Smoke-Free

On April 19th, the City of Universal City voted unanimously to pass a smoke-free ordinance that protects all workers and residents from the deadly effects of second-hand smoke!

In doing so, they not only became another Texas city choosing to prioritize the health of their residents, but they became the 50th city in Texas to do so! While we still have a long way to go, this is truly a cause for celebration! We are endlessly thankful for the continued passion, tireless help, and strong voices of our citizen volunteers and advocates who were critical in passing each and every one of these 50 ordinances.

Because of all of you, 50 cities in Texas can now breathe easier, and together we will continue to work to ensure that ALL Texans have that same right.

Onward and upward, y'all!

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Port Arthur Goes Smoke-Free!

Last Tuesday, April 5th, the Port Arthur City Council voted unanimously (9-0) in favor of a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance! Port Arthur is now the 48th city in Texas to go smoke-free!

We are incredibly thankful for all our smoke-free supporters who sent emails, made calls, and testified before City Council. Your actions made this happen!

Once this ordinance goes into effect, Port Arthur residents and visitors will be able to enjoy their favorite places without the harmful effects of exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke. Restaurant and bar workers will be able to breathe easier and live healthier lives.

We would not be here without the support and dedication of our You're the Cure advocates to making Port Arthur a healthier place to live.

Thank you!

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SmokeFree Little Rock Needs YOU!

SmokeFree Little Rock is continuing its work to make all indoor workplaces free of secondhand smoke, but we need YOU!  The coalition is working to engage partners throughout the community and grow our grassroots support of the campaign in order to create a healthier Little Rock for everyone!   It’s not too late to get involved and make a difference!  

Please contact Matt Henry at Matt.Henry@heart.org for more information.

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Stories from the Street: McAllen Healthy Hearts 5k & Smoke-Free RGV

The following is a post by Local Policy Manager, Jerry Saavedra on his experience at the McAllen Healthy Hearts 5k

It was a great weekend in McAllen! This past Valentine’s Day weekend, the McAllen Heart Hospital and The Heart Clinic held their second-annual Healthy Hearts 5K. The turnout was amazing with over 500 people from across the RGV lacing up their running shoes to show their support!

As part of this event, our Smoke-Free RGV team had a table where we were able to engage with participants, talk with them about the devastating impact of secondhand smoke, and ask them if they would sign our petition cards & take a picture with our “100% smoke-free community” sign (check out our photo album from the event) to express their support for their community passing a 100% smoke-free ordinance. 

STORIES OF SUPPORT:

The support from the community was overwhelming! One woman told me that she doesn’t like to go out to bars with her friends and co-workers because the secondhand smoke always upsets her breathing and sinuses.  She said she would love to be able to go out and not smell like smoke and feel bad when she got home.  We agree.

My favorite conversation was with a man who, when I told him what we were doing at the event, told me he was a smoker.  He then turned to his wife and said with a chuckle, “They want me to sign a petition to make our city smoke-free.” She nodded her head and rolled her eyes a little. 

But then a surprising thing happened.  He turned to me and said, “You know what.  I’ll sign your petition.”  He went on to say that although he was a smoker, other people who are having a meal or having a few drinks should not have to breathe in his secondhand smoke.  “I think it’s reasonable for us smokers to just go outside to smoke.  I don’t see the problem with that.”

This gentleman and the hundreds of other people who showed their support by signing petition cards and taking pictures, made my day and reaffirmed to me that communities across the Rio Grande Valley and the entire State of Texas want to live and work in comprehensive 100% smoke-free cities.  As one woman I met put it, “It really is just common sense.” 

If you support your community going smoke-free, click here to sign the petition!  Together we will make the Rio Grande Valley a healthier place to live, work, and raise a family.

 

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Meet Dr. Jennifer Redmond Knight

"Since I was a young girl, I have been concerned with the dangers of secondhand smoke.  As a life-long asthma sufferer, I personally knew how harmful secondhand smoke was to my health and when I discovered the dangers for all people, I became a passionate advocate.  In 2002, while working on my Master of Public Health degree, I had the opportunity to join the Lexington-Fayette County Kentucky smoke-free campaign.  I remember testifying to the city council, writing letters to the editor and educating all those who would listen about the dangers of secondhand smoke.  In 2009, I was asked to be part of the Smoke-free Kentucky Leadership team focused on promoting a comprehensive state-wide policy.  I served in this capacity until 2013 when I moved to Little Rock, AR.  I am a native of Batesville, AR and one of the things I asked frequently upon coming back to Arkansas was "when are we going to strengthen our current smoke-free law to become comprehensive?"  I am honored to currently be serving as chair of the SmokeFree Little Rock Campaign and look forward to the day when all people who live, work and play in Little Rock and every other community in Arkansas, Kentucky, the United States and the world are protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke! "

Dr. Jennifer Redmond Knight lives in Little Rock and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, where she serves as a Co-Investigator for the Kentucky Cancer Consortium, Co-Principal Investigator for a new Lung Cancer Prevention and Early Detection project; and Co-Investigator for an NCI grant focused on an HPV vaccination environmental scan. She is also a facilitator/strategic planner for the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s coordinated chronic disease prevention and health promotion efforts, and leads their cancer control leadership team. She facilitated regional forums and provided support in strategic planning for Kentucky’s Changing this Generation project. She also facilitated the development of the Texas Cancer Plan and Future Directions workgroups for the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas.

Her areas of expertise include partnership sustainability, program development, group facilitation, epidemiology, evaluation and policy, systems and environmental change efforts. Her current focus areas relate to the Affordable Care Act and Cancer & Lung Cancer Prevention and Early Detection.
Dr. Knight has her BA in Communications from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health and DrPH in Health Services Management from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health.

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