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PSTA Recognition For Public Health Changes At Bus Terminals

By Maggie Hall

August 25, 2017

In recognition of the outstanding leadership efforts of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), Dr. Ulyee Choe, Director of the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, presented a certificate from Kellie O’Dare Wilson, Tobacco Free Florida’s Bureau Chief, to the agency’s leadership at its Aug. 23 board meeting.

PSTA was recognized “In recognition of the exemplary leadership demonstrated in protecting the residents of Pinellas County by reducing their exposure to secondhand smoke.”

The Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida’s certificate was presented after PSTA worked with DOH-Pinellas’ Tobacco Prevention staff to create healthy spaces for residents at their bus terminals. PSTA’s “Breathe Easy” zones protect the children, disabled, elderly and other non-smokers in Pinellas County from the deadly effects of secondhand smoke.

In Florida, 82.4 percent of Floridians do not smoke, yet many are exposed to the deadly toxins and carcinogens in secondhand smoke1. Per the World Health Organization(WHO), globally, more than 600,000 children and adults die each year from it and that doesn’t count those who suffer from diseases and disabilities resulting from exposure to secondhand smoke2. Exposure to secondhand smoke occurs in many ways including, but not limited to: in the home, at work, at entrances and exits of buildings, at various bus locations and elsewhere.

PSTA realized the devastating results of secondhand smoke on the health of children and seniors and was determined to make a difference in Pinellas.

For information about DOH-Pinellas, go to http://pinellas.floridahealth.gov or follow us on Twitter @HealthyPinellas.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.

About Tobacco Free Florida

The department’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. Since the program began in 2007, more than 159,000 Floridians have successfully quit using one of Tobacco Free Florida's free tools and services. There are now approximately 451,000 fewer adult smokers in Florida than there was 10 years ago, and the state has saved $17.7 billion in health care costs. To learn more about Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way services, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com or follow the campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeFlorida or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tobaccofreefla.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014.

Mattias Öberg PhD, Prof Maritta S Jaakkola PhD, Prof Alistair Woodward PhD ,Armando Peruga DrPH ,Dr Annette Prüss-Ustün PhD. Worldwide burden of disease from exposure to second-hand smoke: a retrospective analysis of data from 192 countries.The Lancet. 8 January 2011 (Vol. 377, Issue 9760, Pages 139-146) DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61388-8.