Smoke Free Homes and Vehicles Campaign “We Share the Air”

Did you know this about second hand smoke?

  • FACT – 2/3 of smoke from a cigarette is not inhaled by the smoker, but enters the air around the smoker.
  • FACT– Children who are exposed to 2nd hand smoke have a 200% greater chance of developing cancerous tumours, 75% greater chance of developing asthma and a 22% greater chance of developing brain tumours.
  • FACT -More than 1000 non-smokers will die this year in Canada due to tobacco use – over 300 lung cancer and 700 coronary heart disease deaths.
  • FACT– a non smoker in a smoky room, such as a bar, inhales the equivalent of 35 cigarettes an hour.
  • FACT – In 2001, 23% of the 2.7 million households with children under 12, reported regular exposure to 2nd and smoke from cigarettes, cigars and pipes.
  • FACT – Electronic air cleaning systems would need to increase the air-exchange rate 1000 fold to be effective – resulting in gale force winds.
  • FACT – 2nd hands smoke is a major source of indoor air pollution, and the greatest source of air particle pollution. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the risk of developing cancer from 2nd hand smoke exposure is about 57 times greater than the total risk posed by all outdoor air contaminants regulated under US environmental law.

Source: “smoke free spaces: activist toolkit” Health Canada 2003

  • FACT: In Nova Scotia 42% of children under the age of 12 are regularly exposed to second hand smoke in the home.

Source: GPI Atlantic

Did you know this about smoke free homes and vehicles campaigns?

Smoke free home and vehicle campaigns are doing more than just protecting us from the harmful effects of second hand smoke. They have some positive side effects:

  • they decrease cigarette consumption
  • they promote quitting
  • they prevent relapse in former smokers
  • they lower smoking initiation rates in adolescents 
    (even in homes where parents are smokers)

Source: Gilpin et al., 1999; Farkas et al., 1999; Farkas et al., 2000

And best of all your family (even your pets) will be healthier by breathing clean indoor air!

About “We Share the Air”

Smoke Free Kings was ready to expand their vision and move into the areas of smoke free homes and cars The foundation had been laid for smoke free indoor public places and Smoke Free Kings was ready to broaden their activities to include a focus on Smoke Free Homes.

The Advisory Committee thought if we can educate and raise public awareness among parents and other family members about smoking in their homes and cars, we could make an impact on the health of our children and serve as a model for other communities.

Smoke Free Kings wanted a program that:

  • Raised awareness of the importance and benefits of smoke free homes and cars
  • Protected children from second hand smoke
  • Provided information on the resources available for cessation in our area
  • Educated children and families on the harmful effects of second hand smoke

A Smoke Free Homes and vehicle steering committee was formed and work began on the “We share the Air” campaign begun

What is “We Share the Air”? 
It is a public awareness campaign designed to inform the public about the harmful effects of second hand smoke and the benefits of making your home and vehicles smoke free.

How does it encourage people to smoke outside?
The campaign shared information about the health benefits of Smoke Free Homes and Vehicles through a variety of methods. A contest for Kings & Annapolis residents was created. Families and individuals were asked to fill out, sign and return the Smoke Free Home & Vehicle Pledge to Smoke Free Kings. They were automatically entered in the draw. PLUS, they received and official Smoke Free Homes Kit which included: a Smoke Free Home Certificate, a Smoke Free Home & Vehicle Decals, a Smoke Free Home & Vehicle info & more.

The prizes included: $500 shopping Spree to Canadian Tire, Cordless Phone, Family Pass to the 2004 Season of the Atlantic Theatre Festival, 2004 Children’s Art Agenda! Prizes were drawn during National Non-Smoking Week January 2004.

The campaign was not asking people to quit (but were happy if people chose to do so) just to consider those around them and to remember that we share the air. So if you do choose to smoke, please do it outside.

The eligibility for prizes was only for the first six months of the campaign. A generic pledge has been created and residents of Kings and Annapolis Counties can still pledge to make their homes smoke free simply by requesting a pledge form from Smoke Free Kings or completing the online pledge form. Once the pledge has been completed and submitted, your family will receive a smoke free homes kit!

How do you make your home & vehicle smoke free?
It ‘s easy. Ask families and individuals to declare their homes and vehicles Smoke Free Places. And to ask people who do smoke to –take it outside!

Who were our “We share the Air” partners?
Smoke Free Kings enlisted the help of various partners to highlight and promote the program. They included: Annapolis Valley Regional School Board, School KATS Teams, Snap, Buckle, Drive, Addiction Services, Public Health Services and Community Volunteers 
Additional Support was provided by: Action in your Community against Tobacco, Community Health Boards, and Canadian Cancer Society.

The Results
Over 1400 homes in Kings and Annapolis County had pledged to make their homes Smoke Free as of January 2004. And that continues to grow!!
Smoke Free Kings enjoyed the “We share the Air” campaign experience very much. So much that Smoke Free Kings has committed to continue to raise awareness and educated Kings and Annapolis County residents on the importance and benefits of smoke free homes and vehicles. Here are some things that we learned along the way:

  • Smoke free homes and vehicles campaigns are well received and supported by the community
  • Public Places Legislation vs. Smoke Free Home Awareness: Our experiences in public places legislation paved the way for our smoke free homes work. The “we share the air” campaign was fun and less controversial than the public places work.
  • Easy to recruit partners: a fun campaign makes it easy to recruit volunteers. Volunteers (both smoke free and smokers) recognized the impact and importance of the campaign and were willing participants.
  • Youth were a captive and accessible audience: The youth factor was key to our success. Youth are energetic, creative and contagious! Make sure that youth are involved in your program!
  • Media support: The local media gave superb coverage to all events and supported the program with PSA and community advertisements.
  • Anyone can do it: It is just that simple. You can modify a campaign to meet your budget and resources. Prizes were a bonus but not necessary.
  • Smokers were respected: This campaign respected their rights. Our message was simple, please remember that we share the air and if you chose to smoke, take it outside!

Links to other Smoke Free Homes Projects: www.smokefreearoundme.ca