As we celebrate the 100th smoke-free city milestone in Texas, we're shining a spotlight on one of the advocates who helped make it happen. Rosalie Tristan is an advocate from Raymondville, Texas who has helped pass smoke-free ordinances in four cities. Supporting smoke-free indoor workplaces hits close to home for Rosalie who lost her daughter due to a brain aneurysm that lead to a stroke and was constantly exposed to secondhand smoke at her workplace.
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Rosalie advocated for smoke-free ordinances in Edinburg, Raymondville, McAllen and Pharr. In fact, she helped pass two smoke-free ordinances in Pharr! She advocated for the initial ordinance change, and recently, Rosalie helped with the effort to ask Pharr to make their ordinance comprehensive once again after it had been rolled back. Part of getting to 100 smoke-free cities isn't just passing the initial ordinances, but making sure they stay in place.
Rosalie, her granddaughter Aliana (who received top youth female in the 5k run!), and Jerry Saavedra at the San Antonio heart walk
We asked Rosalie a few questions about her experience as a smoke-free advocate:
Why is implementing smoke-free ordinances important to you personally?
It is very important to me personally because I lost my only daughter to a brain aneurysm that caused a stroke due to her working for 7 years at a local restaurant/bar that allowed smoking indoors while attending college. She left behind a 5-year-old.
Rosalie's granddaughter Aliana with a picture of her mom
How did you feel when the vote passed?
I felt the community leaders were finally taking a pro-active approach to the public health and safety of its citizens. I felt no other workers would be putting their lives at risk just showing up at work.
Rosalie and fellow smoke-free McAllen advocates following a successful passage of a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance
What do you think made the effort to re-strengthen the ordinance successful?
I think what made the effort strong was the collaboration with the American Heart Association and Tobacco Prevention and Control Coalition working with us.
Do you have words of encouragement for others who want to see their city go smoke-free?
Words of encouragement I would offer others who want to see their city go smoke-free is to see it as a public health concern. Many times we become complacent to the secondhand smoke and do not realize the effect it is having on us and our family. We are not alone in this struggle, we need to reach out to agencies like the American Heart Association and Tobacco Prevention Coalition and many other agencies who work tirelessly on educating the public about the health risk associated with exposure to secondhand smoke in your local communities.