Friday, Jan. 20

'Reality' comes to Lincoln City Council

Anti-smoking trail dwindles to the south          Send a link to a friend

[JAN. 20, 2006]  Reality struck in Lincoln city chambers this week when members of the local high school group Reality came before the council to discuss tobacco. Their visit was most timely as communities up and down the state discuss restricting smoking in public places.

Beginning Jan. 1, Illinois law opened the opportunity for communities to set their own smoking restrictions. A ban against smoking in nearly all public places went into effect on Jan. 16 in Chicago. On Tuesday evening the city of Springfield voted to ban smoking in restaurants, bars, bowling alleys and private clubs. That measure goes into effect Sept. 17. While communities all over the state are discussing it, interest and activity decreases the farther south you go in Illinois.

Three Reality members -- Cameron Kurtz, Kelly Gosda and Sabra Boyd -- each took turns addressing the Lincoln council on their mission to warn their peers and others about the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke. Anne Duffey, who began serving as health educator at the Logan County Health Department seven months ago, assists the group. Mark Hilliard, health department administrator, was also present.

Each member of the group was well-versed in various aspects of tobacco use, its hazards and how it is being marketed to youth, even in our local businesses.

Currently, 52 Illinoisans die every day of a tobacco-related illness. [See other Illinois tobacco facts below.]

Logan County has a 28 percent to 33.5 percent smoking rate. This is the highest of four ranges. There are 18 other counties in the state in this range. Eighty-three counties have lower rates.

Through direct encouragement in everyday life, the local teens are committed to helping their peers avoid tobacco products and to avoid those who use tobacco. They also participate in structured activities. They host a day of healthy living choice classes and activities for seventh-graders each year called PARTY, which stands for Positive Actions Relating to Youth. They also participate in the annual health fair.

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The Reality teens have been active in surveying what is happening in local businesses such as restaurants, campaigning for smoke-free environments. [See list of smoke-free restaurants below.]

Through Operation Store Front, they also assess businesses that sell tobacco products. They evaluate displays and posters to see if youth are being targeted in promotions. They look to see how easily product is accessible. They would like to see all tobacco products behind the counters where it must be asked for and a clerk must retrieve it.

Marlboro Lights are the No. 1 seller in cigarettes.

Mayor Beth Davis thanked the group for coming to speak. She said that so often we only hear about the negative about what our youth are doing; she wanted people to hear the good too.

The Reality Illinois program was established by the state from settlements with tobacco companies and is sponsored locally by the Logan County Health Department.

[Jan Youngquist]

Links to supporting information:


Illinois tobacco facts

  • Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.

  • Almost 90 percent of adult smokers started at or before the age of 18.

  • 773,000 kids are exposed to secondhand smoke at home.

  • 18,400 adults die each year from smoking.

  • Tax on every pack of cigarettes sold in Illinois: 98 cents.

  • Number of deaths per year in Illinois that are tobacco-related: one in every five deaths.

  • 60,000 Illinois teenagers take up smoking each year.

  • Tobacco accounts for more deaths in Illinois each year than all of the following combined:

    • AIDS
    • Alcohol
    • Motor vehicle crashes
    • Murders
    • Suicide
    • Drugs
    • Fires

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  • Number of chemicals in a cigarette: 4,000.

  • Seven years are taken off the life of person who smokes a pack or more of cigarettes a day.

  • Of 1,000 20-year-olds who continue to smoke, six will die prematurely from homicide, 12 from car crashes and 500 from smoking.

  • Some of the many ingredients in cigarettes:

    • Glue
    • Mothballs
    • Plant fertilizer
    • Mercury
    • Paint thinner
    • Ammonia
    • Acetone
    • Formaldehyde
    • Rat poison
    • Toilet bowl cleaner

[Information obtained from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kinds, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and Illinois Tobacco-Free Communities.]

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Logan County smoke-free restaurants

(as of December 2005)

28 of 74 total

  • Abe's Family Fun Park
  • Bluestem Bake Shop
  • Bonanza
  • Burger King
  • Chopsticks
  • Cookie's Bakery
  • Einstein's Louisiana CoffeeHouse
  • First Wok
  • Gleason's Dairy Bar
  • Guzzardo's
  • Hardee's
  • Java Junction -- closed
  • Jimmy John's
  • Joan's
  • Joe's Pizzeria

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  • Long John Silver's
  • McDonald's
  • North Greens Golf Course
  • Oasis Senior Center
  • Pizza Hut
  • Russell Stover Candies
  • Sorrento's
  • Steak n Shake
  • Subway, Lincoln
  • Subway, Mount Pulaski
  • Taco Bell
  • The Warehouse
  • Thornton's Truck Plaza
  • Vintage Fare

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