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Achieve, Open Door Center, tobacco usage and you

April 12, 2012

Open Door Center is a member of the Barnes County ACHIEVE. ACHIEVE is the acronym for Action Committee for Innovation and EnVironmental Change.

The local partnership was organized in 2010 for the purpose of reducing chronic diseases in Valley City and the surrounding area by pursuing local Policy, Systems and Environment changes that will more effectively promote good health.

The local ACHIEVE partnership brings together many local organizations representing health care, education , commerce, recreation and fitness, nutrition and special populations.

One of the prominent objectives for AHIECVE is to promote and advocate for smoke-free work and public places in Valley City. One may ask why Open Door Center is involved with ACHIEVE.

Certainly the aims and purposes of ACHIEVE will increase the health status of Valley City, but even more selfishly, the Center also wants a healthier environment and life style for people receiving services as well as for Center staff.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) reports that tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and diseases in North Dakota.
Each year almost 1,000 North Dakotans die prematurely due to smoke related diseases.

Tobacco use costs North Dakota families over $247 million each year in healthcare and over $500 a year in taxes.

There is indisputable evidence that “smoking laws “ have an effect not only the health of the person who smokes but also those who are too young to smoke and others who are subjected to second hand smoke.

According to Breathe North Dakota, smoke-free laws dissuade kids from starting, help smokers quit and protect everyone from the toxicity of second hand smoke.

The Open Door Center employs a large number of young people between the ages of 18 and 29.

Many of them smoke and have been smoking for several years. Although the Center has a smoke free policy for agency-owned property and provides cost incentives for cessation programs, this expensive habit continues with many employees.

With over 600 young people beginning smoking each year in North Dakota, we must do more to eliminate this costly and killing habit of our current and future decision makers.

There are many health benefits for the person who stops using tobacco.
A smoker within 2 months of quitting will breathe better, have improved blood pressure and pulse, eliminate carbon monoxide from their body, experience improved circulation and greatly reduce the risk of heart attacks. Smoke free laws increase the probability of people quitting smoking which in turn positively affects the smoking rate of young people and reduces catastrophic diseases from second hand smoke.
These laws create a healthier community.

The ACHIEVE program in Grand Forks reports that 4 months after the city instituted smoke free bars and restaurants, the community heart attack rate dropped 24 percent!

These results are not a fluke, as long term studies in Colorado and other states corroborate these findings.

Please join ACHIEVE and Open Door Center in promoting and voting for smoke free laws in Valley City.

You are the instrument to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco usage for the smoker, our youth and non-smoking residents of Valley City.
You are the tool to decrease the heart attack rates in Valley City. You can make Valley City a healthier place to live.

Simonson is executive director of the Open Door Center, a Valley City-based nonprofit that provides a range of services to people with disabilities.

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