Program Manager, Tobacco Use Prevention
Lorie Snyder, who has been involved with smokefree campaigns in 26 communities in the Kansas City metro area, shared her valuable insights in this interview. Her campaign experience includes Independence, Kansas City, North Kansas City, Lee’s Summit, and Liberty.
Now that the smokefree law has been in place for a while, how do people feel about it?
I would say in all of the communities where a smokefree law is passed, at first you get a few complaints about people not wanting to comply, but now, we hardly get any complaints at all and everyone speaks volumes about how much they love it. They’re saying, “Well we love it here, but we sure wish Gladstone was smokefree!” You know they wish surrounding communities were smokefree. So the word is getting out and people in surrounding communities are wanting to go smokefree as well.
What are the differences today as opposed to before the smokefree law was passed?
We actually did a study in Kansas City and heart attack rates and emergency room visits for heart attacks have gone down. And that is the most tangible evidence. We’ve also had tax data that shows there has been no loss in business once the ordinances have gone into place.
What would you tell other communities that are considering a smokefree policy?
I would say take your time, use materials that are out there, and really know that a good campaign is going to take three years – it’s not going to happen overnight. First you really have to educate your community and get them on board. Identify key people in your community that are going to want to help and form a coalition. And I think just follow the step – follow a timeline, follow a strategy. Get some outside help from those who have done it before to help you walk through the process before you even address your city council.