Rep. Charlie Brown of Gary will join Porter and LaPorte County expert panelists at a December 9 Town Hall meeting to support upcoming comprehensive smoke-free air legislation.  As a member of the state Health Finance Committee, Rep Brown, D-Gary, has again pledged to back a policy to protect all workers from secondhand smoke in the workplace.

The Porter and LaPorte County Tobacco Education & Prevention Coalitions will present the Town Hall forum at Inman’s Fun & Party Center, 3201 Evans Avenue, Valparaiso, beginning at 3 p.m. Inman’s is a successful smoke-free entertainment venue, and business owner Mike Peuquet will serve as a panelist.

Other presenters include Charles Motley, MD, a LaPorte County Emergency Medicine specialist; Rev. David Swarn, chair of the LaPorte County Minority Health Coalition board of directors; Valparaiso city councilman Jan Dick; Indiana Tobacco Prevention & Cessation board member Marion Dick, RN; and Suzanne Tracy, Executive Director of the Northwest Indiana American Cancer Society service center.

Dan Lowery, former director of the Northwest Indiana Quality of Life Council and incoming chancellor of Calumet College of St. Joseph will moderate the event.

After the presentations, the panelists will answer questions that have been submitted by the audience.

Since the successful inception of Indiana Tobacco Prevention & Cessation in 2001, the state’s smoking rate has dropped from 27.4% in 2001 to 23.1% in 2009. Accordingly, LaPorte and Porter County’s adult rates also have dropped regionally from 30.7% to 26%. Biannual Youth Tobacco Survey results continue to show decreases in student usage throughout Indiana, as well.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, concentrating on proven strategies such as implementing smoke-free air policies and raising tobacco excise taxes could result in even greater success in cutting health care related costs and improving overall health for Indiana.

To RSVP for the December 9 Town Hall meeting, or for more information, contact Sandy Gleim at 219-326-6260, or Susan Gleason at 219-464-5480.

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