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Fighting second-hand smoke in Alhambra

Piles of cigarette butts were on display at Alhambra High School. The health advocacy organization Clean Air for Everyone (CAFE) collected them around Alhambra in an effort to educate students about the dangers of second-hand smoke. On Earth Day, the group led workshops and discussions at AHS.

Members of CAFE with old cigarette butts from around Alhambra | Photo courtesy of CAFEBryan Chau, a sophomore, said he sees many smokers around schools and in public areas in Alhambra. “Smoking is pretty much bad, especially if it’s around elementary schools and high schools,” Chau said. “I do not like the smell of second-hand smoke."

The group conducted a survey in 2010 and 2011, interviewing 488 Alhambra residents about smoking and second-hand smoke in the city. According to the results, 94 percent of respondents have been exposed to second-hand smoke in the city’s outside areas, and 84 percent said they would dine outdoors more often if those areas were smoke-free. Of the respondents, 94.3 percent were not tobacco users.

“The results of our survey with Alhambra residents inspired and propelled the smoke-free initiative in the city,” said CAFE member Kristine Glaze. “The residents themselves spoke about how they were affected by second-hand smoke outdoors, and how they want the issue to be addressed locally.”

CAFE started in Alhambra in 2011 when the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health awarded the Glendale Adventist Medical Center a grant to educate local community members about second-hand smoking. Members of CAFE participate in community health activities such as tobacco litter cleanup, youth media training, information booths at school and city events, presentations for school clubs and city organizations, and meetings with local leaders and businesses.

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