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Administrator Whitman Asks Americans to Take Smoke-Free Pledge

Release Date: 04/11/2003
Contact Information:

Contacts: Cathy Milbourn 202-564-7824/
Wanda Loving 202-564-7822/

(04/11/03) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman, Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell and partner organizations today launched new campaigns urging parents to make their homes smoke-free to protect their children’s health. Every day, millions of children are exposed to secondhand smoke in their home which leads to serious health consequences, ranging from ear infections and pneumonia to asthma.

“I am pleased to stand with so many groups who have gathered here because of the concern about the millions of children who inhale secondhand smoke every day in their own home,” said Administrator Christie Whitman. “Children who breath secondhand smoke are more likely to suffer from health effects including bronchitis, pneumonia and have more frequent and severe asthma attacks. As parents we all want to protect our children from serious risks and reducing the health risk of secondhand smoke. This is something each and every one of us can and should do. I challenge you to do the right thing and go outside for your kids until you quit smoking entirely.”

As an environmental trigger of asthma, secondhand smoke is the cause of about ten million missed school days and it is estimated that up to one million children have aggravated asthma symptoms due to secondhand smoke. According to the Center for Disease Control in 1994, 27 percent of children, age six and under, were regularly exposed to smoke at home. In 1998, the number of exposures dropped to 20 percent or about five million children. Much has been done to decrease the effects of secondhand smoke in public places, but children who spend most of their time in homes with smokers are still being exposed at high rates.

A national media campaign “My Mom’s My Hero” was created by EPA, the Consumer Federation of America Foundation and the American Medical Association to raise awareness of the dangers of secondhand smoke and urge mothers to make their homes smoke-free. EPA will present awards to local moms who have already taken the Smoke-Free Home Pledge. As part of this media campaign, public service announcements will be sent to all television and radio stations nationwide this month.

EPA has established a “Take the Smoke-Free Home Pledge” hotline, 1-866-SMOKE-FREE, to take pledges from parents and reinforce their commitment with a certificate and supporting materials. For more
information and to view the new “My Mom’s My Hero” public service announcement, see: