As a resident of Kosciusko County, I care about what my community looks like. I care about the welfare of those who surround the area, and I especially care about how I can help Warsaw continue to be a beautiful location to live. However, one area where I notice a concern is something that I cannot change alone; that concern is the quality of air within Kosciusko County that affects adults and children alike.
According to indiana.gov, as of December 2017, roughly 27 percent of the adult residents in Kosciusko County are tobacco smokers. This may sound like a small population, but indiana.gov compared this 27 percent with the percentage of adults who smoke within the U.S. and state of Indiana. From the comparison, it had shown that Kosciusko County was seven to ten percentage higher than the nation and the state average rate of tobacco smokers. As on can see from these statistics, Kosciusko County adults and children are more exposed to secondhand smoke. Therefore, we are at an increased rate of experiencing the negative health effects.
Some of the health effects that children experience from secondhand smoke exposure are: an increased amount of asthma attacks, which could be severe; respiratory infections; ear infections; and sudden infant death syndrome. While the health effects that adults experience would be increased risk for stroke, nasal irritation, lung cancer, coronary heart disease, and, if a woman is pregnant and exposed to secondhand smoke, it can cause the fetus to have a low birth weight.
In conclusion, it is clear to see that not only is a smoker at risk for severe health issues, but so are the adult and children bystanders. Therefor, it is important for voters to continue to support our local and state policy leaders on laws such as the 2012 smoke-free air law. With the support of these types of laws, the individuals and families that reside and surround Kosciusko County can then continue to enjoy their beautiful city and parks. So, like mentioned earlier, I do try to help Warsaw remain a beautiful location but I cannot change everything alone. As a result, continuing to spread educational information and continuing to support of state laws will help boost the quality of life in a person but also in a town.
Kosciusko County Tobacco Free Coalition Program Director
Compiled by Morgan Blocher, Kosciusko County Early Head Start Health, Mental Health Nutrition, and Disabilities Specialist