I am writing in response to the article “Smoking ban snuffed out” in The News-Dispatch on May 29. I commend Councilwoman Sharon Carnes for leading the smoke-free parks public health initiative in Michigan City. Though the ordinance was rejected, this is an opportunity to raise awareness about the tobacco burden in the city and what Healthy Communities of La Porte County is doing to combat it.
La Porte County has a serious tobacco problem. Out of 92 counties in Indiana, La Porte ranks dead last in health behaviors, a measure based on things like excessive drinking, physical inactivity and tobacco use. With an adult smoking rate of 29 percent, nearly double the national average, La Porte County has one of the highest smoking rates in America. Smoking not only affects the smoker’s health, but the health of nonsmokers around them.