For the first time in my life I’m spending a lot of time in bars. Much to the surprise of my family, I know every bar in the community and enjoy my visits with the owners, employees and customers finding out how they deal with secondhand smoke.
I’m Brenda Pollard, the Pocatello grassroots coordinator for SmokeFree Idaho, a coalition of businesses, organizations and individuals that believe no one should have to choose between a job and good health!
All of my adult life I have been involved in community organizations, mainly focusing on neighborhoods and community engagement. Community organizing is a natural outcome for a party planner that loves organization and healthy living environments.
After losing an aunt and an uncle to causes related to smoking I determined it was time to be more vocal about the devastating effects of tobacco use. I was thrilled to find an organization where the American Heart Association, American Lung Association and American Cancer Society teamed up to advocate for the health of Idahoans. I learned that there is NO SAFE LEVEL of exposure to second-hand smoke.
Now I work to share that information with folks in Pocatello and Chubbuck. I have visited small businesses, community leaders and city councils. I present at schools, service organizations and association meetings. I have enjoyed calling Bingo at the Senior Center, sharing alarming facts such as- for every seven people that die from tobacco use, they take one nonsmoker with them. I promote SmokeFree workplaces at health fairs and community events, chamber of commerce meetings and fun runs.
Some of the highlights of my work include visiting with Don Aslett at his Museum of Clean where he told me of a book he wrote titled, “Why I Would Rather Clean up after a Cow than a Smoker.” Also, the photo booth shoot at Poky High School organized by their Idaho Drug Free Youth Club and sponsored by McCord Orthodontics where students posed with signs reading, “I Support SmokeFree Idaho.” Currently I am working with students from each high school to promote a campaign to “Blow Bubbles – Not Smoke” Check out the inspirational ad that inspired our theme.