WASHINGTON: The EPA is putting the spotlight on secondhand smoke
and its effects on children's health in a new environmental outreach
initiative that will use PR in tandem with a television and print
The effort is planned to motivate millions of parents to pledge to keep
their homes smoke-free. "The Smoke-Free Home Pledge" campaign was
launched October 16 during a press conference held by EPA chief
Christine Todd Whitman at the Children's National Medical Center in
According to EPA statistics, 12 million children are exposed to
second-hand smoke on a daily basis. This leads to serious health
consequences, such as ear infections, pneumonia, and asthma.
The EPA has released a new brochure and a community action kit that
includes details on how to set up a local pledge effort. The campaign
has thousands of partners, including public health and tobacco control
More than 300,000 brochures have been sent out so far. Each partner
group will use its own communications initiatives to inform local media
and the public about the campaign. Groups supporting the initiative
include the Centers for Disease Control, the Department of Health and
Human Services, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology,
the American Lung Association, and the National Cancer Institute.
The EPA has also established a smoke-free hotline, 1-800-513-1157, that
will take pledges from parents. The parents will then be given a
certificate and supporting materials for calling the hotline.