On Wednesday, a Smoke Free Paso del Norte congratulated the Mayor and Council of the Town of Anthony, Texas for adopting an ordinance that protects its’ residents from the negative consequences of exposure to secondhand smoke.
Monday evening, under the direction of Mayor Martin Lerma and Alderman Shawn Weeks, the Anthony Council unanimously approved an ordinance that will prohibit the smoking of both commercial and electronic cigarettes in restaurants, bars, parks, and playgrounds.
José O. Rivera, Founding Dean of The University of Texas at El Paso’s School of Pharmacy and Principal Investigator of the Smoke Free Initiative issued this statement:
“Those who work in public health, and especially tobacco control, know that through policy adoptions, such as this one, we move closer to achieving a level of health equity in our region. The A Smoke Free Paso del Norte initiative applauds the Town of Anthony for their efforts.”
Alderman Weeks recognized both the council and the community effort toward the adoption of the ordinance after the vote.
“This happened for a few reasons, one of which is that this Council recognized that change, not just any change but healthy change, is good for the community. But also the support of the community, as shown by the people who spoke after the passage.”
“I quit over six years ago for my family and for my own good health,” said Amanda Crawford, Anthony resident. “For my health and others, I am glad that this ordinance was approved.”
The Public and Workplace Smoking Restrictions ordinance prohibits smoking in all enclosed properties, open spaces within or between enclosed facilities, outside areas within 20 feet of a doorway, and all properties owned or leased by the Town of Anthony.
It also offers protection to youth and families that utilize the city’s parks, baseball fields, and skate park.
In 2015, the Clean Air Coalition and Paso del Norte Tobacco Control Network members conducted a survey during school registration week for the Anthony Independent School District.
The survey of over 250 residents showed that over 90% support a policy protecting youth and families from secondhand smoke in parks and playgrounds.
The results of the survey were presented to the Council in January 2017. The ordinance was introduced in September and the Council took immediate action to ensure its passage.
According to officials, the Town of Anthony and the City of El Paso Department of Public Health will work together to educate the community and enforce the new ordinance.
A Smoke Free Paso del Norte will provide technical assistance as needed to the Town of Anthony.
Via a news release, A Smoke Free Paso del Norte shared, “(We) applaud the Town of Anthony’s leadership for adopting a clean air ordinance and joining the over 80 Texas communities who are creating an air of respect for their residents and the Paso del Norte region.”
ASFPdN is an initiative of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.