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Share your story of how secondhand smoke has been a detriment to your personal health and impacted your quality of life. Or, pass this message along to a family member, colleague or friend who will share their story about how secondhand smoke has impaired their life.


Karen, age 30, has been a runner since high school, participating each year in the Chicago Marathon. Last year, she was unable to complete the course. Her legs were strong, but her breath was short. Her doctor told her that she has diminished lung capacity, most likely due to exposure to second hand smoke as a child. Karen, who has never smoked, grew up with parents who did. She has had to back off of her running, and avoid any exposure to second hand smoke--including many restaurants where the "smoke-free" section is not really free from cigarette smoke.


Renee, 24, is a classical ballet dancer who has never smoked cigarettes. She has severe asthma and allergies to cats, dogs and cigarette smoke. Any exposure, particularly to smoke, can set off a severe asthma attack. Renee avoids restaurants because cigarette smoke from the non-smoking sections or adjoining bars often cause a reaction. Bars themselves are out of the question. She misses out on a lot of get-togethers with friends.


David, 39, was the lead singer of a successful rock band with a major label contract in the early-mid 90's. He and his band toured several times throughout Europe and the United States, making frequent appearances on MTV and in the pages of popular magazines. He never smoked cigarettes, but the people attending his concerts did, and it began to affect his ability to breathe, which, in turn, began to seriously affect his ability to sing. On top of that, he started developing debilitating headaches from the smoke, which progressively worsened until he could no longer perform in clubs regularly. He moved from New York City to Chicago, ironically, just before New York went smoke-free, and now regrets the move for just that reason. In New York, he'd not only still be able to perform locally, but he'd be able to attend and enjoy shows at local clubs without suffering the painful consequences of the second-hand smoke. Aside from being a performer, he's an enthusiastic fan of live music, and used to attend local music shows several times a week, but unfortunately, he can only rarely attend shows in Chicago now.



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