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A special message for smokers

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This is a difficult time to be a smoker. As the public becomes more aware that smoking is a hazard not only to you but also to others, nonsmokers are becoming more outspoken, and smokers are finding themselves a beleaguered group.

If you choose to smoke, here are some things you can do to help protect the people close to you:

  • Don't smoke around children. Their lungs are very susceptible to smoke. If you are expecting a child, quit smoking.
  • Take an active role in the development of your company's smoking policy. Encourage the offering of smoking cessation programs for those who want them.
  • Keep your home smoke free. Nonsmokers can get lung cancer from exposure to your smoke. Because smoke lingers in the air, people may be exposed even if they are not present while you smoke. If you must smoke inside, limit smoking to a room where you can open windows for cross-ventilation. Be sure the room in which you smoke has a working smoke detector to lessen the risk of fire.
  • Test your home for radon. Radon contamination in combination with smoking is a much greater health risk than either one individually.
  • Don't smoke in an automobile with the windows closed if passengers are present. The high concentration of smoke in a small, closed compartment substantially increases the exposure of other passengers.

More than 2 million people quit smoking every year, most of them on their own, without the aid of a program or medication. If you want to quit smoking, assistance is available. Smoking cessation programs can help. Your employer may offer programs, or ask your doctor for advice.

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