Youth rally to ban smoking in public places
Young people concerned about cigarette smoking kicked off a petition drive Monday at the Otero County Health Office that will seek a ban on smoking in public places.
Members of HEARTS (Helping Educate and Resist Tobacco Substances), a youth coalition associated with CHINS, and the Alamogordo Tobacco Education Coalition announced that petitions will be available at businesses in Otero County, as well as at CHINS, 501 24th Street, and the health office, 1207 Eighth Street.
Gilbert Garcia, a student at Alamogordo High School and president of HEARTS, said when the group gathers 3,000 signatures, they will present the petitions to the Alamogordo City Commission, seeking an ordinance banning smoking in public places.
GREAT Vice President Ambere Riffle listed other areas the government regulates to protect public health.
"Why should the air we breathe be any different?" she asked.
ATEC member Sharon Hodges, with the Department of Health, Public Health, Health Promotions, said the problems caused by cigarette smoke and second-hand smoke must be addressed.
"We see this as a public health issue," she said.
Judy Mueller, who grew up in a home where people smoked and who smoked for 17 years, told those gathered at the press conference about the battles she's been fighting with her cancer since 1996.
"Get rid of the cigarettes in Alamogordo" in public places, she said.