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Officials hope air quality study brings changes

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - Results of an air quality study in Floyd County were released last week. The study focused on air inside of workplaces and what secondhand smoke does to the overall quality.

September 22nd, 1986 was the last day Carolyn Ford smoked a cigarette. Ford explains, "It is a very dangerous thing and when you watch somebody smother to death...it does something to you."

After losing a friend, Ford realized she was not only harming herself but also those around her, "I am so sorry that I ever smoked around my children."

Officials say the effects of secondhand smoke were evident after a report released in 2006. Jean Rosenberg with Breathe Easy Floyd County explains, "The surgeon general of the United States declared there is no safe level of secondhand smoke."

Officials with Breathe Easy Floyd County used that information to successfully implement a smoke-free work place ordinance in Prestonsburg. Rosenberg adds, "In 2009 we passed a comprehensive workplace ordinance...we always expected to expand that into all of Floyd County."

Researchers from the University of Kentucky completed a study comparing the air quality of workplaces under the ordinance with workplaces outside the city limits. Rosenberg says, "It is a dramatic thing to finally scientifically measure air quality in workplaces."

Officials say the results of this study show the smoke-free laws in Prestonsburg were effective in improving air quality and they hope this will help them move forward in getting smoke-free laws in place throughout Floyd County.

Rosenberg says, "If you are a worker, you're much safer if you work in the city limits under the comprehensive ordinance."

Officials hope all of Floyd County can eventually breathe easy. They encourage anyone concerned about air quality and secondhand smoke to contact your local magistrate.

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