Learn how one Duarte resident is supporting our tobacco control campaign to better protect nonsmokers from harmful secondhand smoke exposure.
Standing up to clear the air and make a difference
Progress in reducing secondhand smoke exposure among nonsmokers has stalled since 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 58 million Americans are still exposed to secondhand smoke including 2 in 5 children. Jonjon Macalintal, a nurse practitioner at City of Hope, knows all too well the effects of secondhand smoke both personally and professionally. He works at City of Hope’s pulmonary department conducting lung cancer screenings and facilitating the smoking cessation program.
Before pursuing his career in the United States, Jonjon was born and grew up in the Philippines, where at ages six and seven, he would buy cigarettes for his father at the neighborhood store. Jonjon’s dad would smoke daily inside their home or in the car while driving. Jonjon says he’s very fortunate that he doesn’t have any current health issues caused from the constant exposure of secondhand smoke. However, he is aware of all the dangers additional carcinogens found in secondhand smoke today.
Even today, living smoke-free and having just purchased a house in Duarte last year, Jonjon sees people in the neighborhood smoking when he goes outside for a walk. Secondhand smoke seems impossible to escape, and the U.S. Surgeon General has concluded there is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure. What’s more is that being a nurse practitioner, Jonjon is acutely aware of what he’s breathing in; more than seven thousand chemicals, including multiple carcinogens that can cause heart and lung diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancer.
Not surprisingly, Jonjon strongly favors laws that reduce secondhand smoke exposure and improve public health. Community engagement, shared goals, and sending direct communications to Duarte city council members as well as attending city council meetings are all important steps to being heard by local lawmakers. Individuals, he says, have the power to take action and make a real difference where they live.
Want to learn more about our efforts to reduce secondhand smoke exposure or ways to get involved? Visit https://www.smokefreecommunity.com/