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Advocate Spotlight: Dr. Paul Amundson

Tobacco Prevention and Improved Health is why

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What brought you to be an advocate for the American Heart Association?

I initially became interested in becoming an advocate several years ago when working with the AHA on legislation to protect South Dakotans from the dangers of 2nd hand smoke. Additional work with the AHA in helping to develop and promote the “Big Squeeze” high blood pressure advocacy campaign in the Sioux Falls area solidified my appreciation for their efforts. My father suffered a fatal stroke last year, further increasing to me the importance of their advocacy and public education efforts.

What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?

Certainly, additional measures need to occur to protect our youth from the dangers of tobacco/nicotine addiction, especially with the increased use of vaping. Getting patients to quit smoking was one of the most difficult things to accomplish in private practice as a family physician, yet one of the most rewarding once they were able to quit and see all of the positive effects on their health which resulted. In addition, I would like to see stronger local/state legislation in place to increase taxes on these products which cost our society so much (especially long-term health costs) and further limit exposure of innocent people to 2nd and 3rd hand smoke.

What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?

No doubt the work done in the SD Legislature to increase awareness of the dangers of 2nd hand smoke and assisting to get legislation passed to protect our citizens health.

What is your favorite way to be active?

My wife and I love to go for hikes and cycling tours all over the world. I also love to golf (walking is the best way), although I have less time for that now as we have a toddler daughter at home.

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable and any tips for how you serve or prepare it?

It took me many years to fully appreciate vegetables, for which I will give my wife full credit. Nothing beats grilling fresh asparagus.

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