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Why Rosalie Tristan Fights for a Smoke-Free RGV

Rosalie Tristian and her granddaughter, Aliana, were all smiles at the San Antonio Heart Walk where together they helped raise over $1000 for the American Heart Association. However, their incredible fundraising efforts are only a small piece of what they’ve done to further the AHA’s mission of eliminating heart disease and stroke.


Two years ago, Rosalie lost her daughter, and Aliana her mother, tragically and unexpectedly. Analisa Tristan worked at a restaurant bar that allowed indoor smoking, where she died suddenly on the job at the age of 29. Her family believes that continued exposure to deadly second-hand smoke at work played a role in her tragic death. In fact, a study shows that in an 8-hour work shift, a non-smoking employee will inhale the equivalent of up to 36 cigarettes. On top of this, secondhand tobacco smoke contributes to about 34,000 premature heart disease deaths and 7,300 lung cancer deaths every year in the Unites States. Despite wanting to find a new job, as a mother and student, Analisa did not have the luxury of simply quitting the toxin-filled bar until she could find a clean air environment to work in.


In 2015 Aliana, only 6 at the time, told her mother’s story at an Edinburg City Council meeting where they were voting on an indoor smoke-free ordinance. Her testimony helped pass that life-saving ordinance by a unanimous vote, ensuring that no-one in her town would have to put their health at risk to earn a paycheck like her mother had to do.

Rosalie and her granddaughter have continued to be incredible advocates for smoke-free indoor workplace laws throughout the Rio Grande Valley, including the City of Pharr which passed their ordinance in May 2016, and the City of Weslaco, which passed theirs just last month. But they need your help in this fight to protect the health of all workers, including those who work at bars & restaurants, from deadly exposure to secondhand smoke.


If you want to get involved with the smoke-free efforts in your area, contact Samantha Bender (

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