Keeping our homes and cars free of tobacco smoke is one way to stay healthier, according to LeVaughn Klages, Wallowa County Tobacco Prevention and Education Coordinator.

With colder weather, people, especially children, start spending more time indoors, which makes them more susceptible to secondhand smoke if tobacco is used in the home. "Secondhand smoke has been classified as a Group A carcinogen (cancer causing agent) by the US Environmental Protection Agency," Klages said. "Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds including formaldehyde, cyanide, carbon monoxide, ammonia, and nicotine. Kids who breathe secondhand tobacco smoke are more likely to have coughs and colds, ear infections, breathing problems, asthma, and other health problems. Young or old, secondhand smoke poses a health threat to those who breathe it. In addition to the increased risks of lung cancer and heart disease, it can cause emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma attacks."

Smoke-free car and home stickers are available from the Wallowa County Public Health Department as well as other organizations who work with children and families. A 12-minute video, "Poisoning Your Children, The Perils of Secondhand Smoke" is also available for loan at Public Health and the Enterprise City Library.

For other tobacco prevention materials, please call LeVaughn Klages at 432-1019. For help in quitting tobacco, call the toll free Oregon Tobacco Quit Line at 877-270-7867.

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