This month we have two exciting updates on local smoke-free efforts. Wichita Falls passed a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance on June 17th and we are seeing great progress in Lubbock.
We are very excited to announce that the City of Wichita Falls passed a comprehensive ordinance on June 17th! Wichita Falls makes the 37th city in Texas to pass a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance!
Mayor Glenn Barham, Mayor Pro Tem Michael Smith, Councilman Ben Hoover, and Councilman Brian Hooker all voted YES to a comprehensive ordinance that prohibits smoking in all restaurants and bars by 2016. This is a great accomplishment for all 104,553 residents of Wichita Falls.
The Smoke-Free Wichita Falls coalition spent many hours meeting with councilmembers, recruiting volunteers, and getting petition cards signed throughout the city. Many members of the coalition including Mindy Giles, Glen Rabideau, Rachel Brown, and Jackie Bush testified at multiple City Council meetings to urge the Council to support a comprehensive ordinance.
AHA volunteers sent out numerous letters, emails, and phone calls to the councilmembers. During the day of the vote AHA volunteers delivered over 250 petition cards from Wichita Falls residents supporting a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance. There are now over 300 Wichita Falls residents in our You’re the Cure network! Pictured are just some of the volunteers that attended the City Council meeting.
Thank you to all the volunteers who made this possible. Your hard work and dedication paid off. It is because of your work that all Wichita Falls workers will be able to breathe smoke-free air by 2016!
The West Texas Smoke-Free Coalition has been busy fighting for clean air! On June 26th the West Texas Smoke-Free Coalition made presentations during citizen’s comments about the public health impact of secondhand smoke exposure.
AHA Executive Leadership Team member Dr. Scott Shurmur presented evidence to the City Council regarding a decrease in hospitalizations once a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance is in place. Dr. Naidu Chekuru, Kavitha Selvan, Matthew Harris, and AHA Local Policy Manager Kelsey Bernstein all presented public health arguments to the Council.
In addition to the presenters, there were over 20 hospitality industry workers in attendance! In fact, during Matthew Harris’ testimony he asked all workers to please stand and get recognized. This was incredibly impactful as it gave the City Council a great look at the lives that they will be directly saving if they pass a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance. These workers as well as coalition members are pictured. There were so many volunteers that attended that we could not fit them all in the picture!
The coalition has decided to present to Council again on July 10th. This time they will be presenting the positive economic impact a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance will have in Lubbock. Many business owners and workers will share their stories with the City Council during this time.
Let us know about any smoke-free movement in your community!