Monday, July 2, 2007

A great job and so many reasons to keep working

Yesterday I went home to my parents' house to celebrate my brother's high school graduation. It was a chance for me to see relatives I usually only see at holidays and re-connect with some of my high school friends' parents. Inevitably, everyone was curious about my life after Wauwatosa. "Where are you working?" "What does SmokeFree Wisconsin do?"

I lost count of how many times I said, "I love my job." Seeing people's reactions to me talking about my work reminded me that I'm lucky to be working in a field I'm passionate about and even luckier to be working with people who contribute to my continued learning on a daily basis. I also think talking out loud about the lives we can save through good public health policy reenergized me for the fight ahead this summer.

My conversations with friends and relatives also resulted in me hearing more stories about the different ways tobacco has affected my community. Wauwatosa has a smoke-free ordinance that covers many restaurants, but exempts bars. My friends' parents described the policy as "inconsistent," "confusing," and "inadequate." My aunt and I got into a conversation about the way Big Tobacco blatantly targets young kids and minority populations. I told her about the latest ploy to hook girls and young women on cigarettes with the Camel No. 9 campaign. It's unbelievable how dishonest the tobacco industry is in its marketing strategies.

I encouraged everyone I talked to yesterday to keep telling their stories to other people and to their legislators - their stories will be one of the reasons Wisconsin goes smoke-free and will provide our senators and representatives with reasons to fund the state's tobacco prevention and control program at a level close to what the CDC recommends.

If you have a story to tell, please visit our Share Your Story webpage and let us know. And please keep telling your story to other people too!

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