County marks anniversary of smoke-free ordinance“What a difference a year makes – 8,760 little hours....” That’s the tune the Citizens for Smoke-Free Environments of Carlton County were singing last Sunday. June 1 was the first-year anniversary of the Carlton County Smoke-Free Workplace Ordinance and to celebrate that milestone, the group congregated for a party at one of the last former strongholds of tobacco use – the local bowling alley.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
“What a difference a year makes – 8,760 little hours....”
That’s the tune the Citizens for Smoke-Free Environments of Carlton County were singing last Sunday. June 1 was the first-year anniversary of the Carlton County Smoke-Free Workplace Ordinance and to celebrate that milestone, the group congregated for a party at one of the last former strongholds of tobacco use – the local bowling alley. On June 1, 2007, all public places and worksites became smoke-free in Carlton County. This includes areas within 25 feet of entrances, open windows or ventilation intakes. In outdoor restaurants or bars, no more than 50 percent of seating may be designated as a smoking area. Also, Carlton County’s ordinance does not include exemptions for theatrical performances.
Some 90 Carlton County citizens of all ages attended last Sunday’s celebratory bowling event, held at Southgate Bowl of Cloquet. Among them were employees of both Carlton County and Fond du Lac Public Health Departments.
Joanne Erspamer of Carlton County Public Health noted that the implementation of the ordinance during the year since its inception has basically gone off “without a hitch.”
Smoking Cessation Therapist Roberta Welper, along with Lead Health Coordinator Nate Sandman of Fond du Lac Public Health, were also on hand to present an informal update on the progress of tobacco awareness and cessation efforts on the reservation.
Wilmer Krohn, long-time member of the Citizens for Smoke-Free Environments of Carlton County coalition and avid bowler, enthusiastically pitted his skills against the oldest bowler there, Willard Maki, 88, of Esko during Sunday’s celebration.
Krohn commented he was very happy to see the bowling alley go smoke-free last year.
“He left with a smile on his face,” attested fellow coalition member Jan Salo Korby, “proudly proclaiming that he is able to bowl every Wednesday now because the lanes are smoke-free. He had to refrain from bowling due to secondhand smoke in the past, so he’s happy to be able to enjoy one of his favorite pastimes again.”
Citizens for Smoke-Free Environments of Carlton County is a coalition that originally formed as “Stop Teen Tobacco Organizing Project” in the 1990s – the local force behind the youth access laws by requiring that cigarettes be kept behind the counters and out of kids’ hands.
The local coalition evolved into a movement to promote smoke-free environments in Moose Lake, Cloquet and finally all of Carlton County.
Citizens for Smoke-Free Environments consists of individuals and groups who want to educate others about tobacco-related facts and secondhand smoke hazards. Carlton County Public Health, the American Lung Association and over 1,100 people who live in Carlton County comprise some of the membership, and the group is still growing.
“June 1 was a great day!” commented Salo Korby. “We had a great showing of support for smoke-free Carlton County! Now we have healthier workers and healthier places to play, too. Thank you, Carlton County, for caring about health.”