Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Change Is In The Air

We went to Painter Creek and stood at the candy counter of Whited’s grocery store. Licorice, malted milk balls, small paraffin bottles filled with fruit flavored syrup were just a few of the items we children eyed. Of course, along with those goodies were the small fliptop box holding candy cigarettes.

Living in Oregon has been not only a privilege but a lesson in better, cleaner living. We were one of the first states to institute recycling. All of our vehicles must pass the DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) vehicle emissions test in order to get new tags. Oregon was a leader in removing smoking from businesses and public areas. So many efforts to protect and preserve a world for our children have begun here.

In traveling back east, I was shocked by the number of people who smoked. Many restaurants still permit smoking with no ‘non smoking’ section. Children sat in cars with parents smoking. Teens gathered on corners to smoke. Ashtrays sat on tables and outside of buildings. It was startling the difference from one side of the country to the other.

Changes are coming to our country. More and more the statistics convince people to change. Children learn about health hazards. Change is in the air….air that with cooperation will be cleaner.

I haven’t seen a package of candy cigarettes or bubble gum cigars in decades. Perhaps they are extinct. Now that would nice. Yet I wonder if those small boxes of white sticks with a pink end, those sticks that children pretended to smoke, might have lured many children that direction. I don’t think that Nerd’s creates nerds or Hershey Kisses encourage puckering, so who knows.

I worry about my friends and family who occasionally breathe in this polluted air. I am concerned that not all states are working to eliminate air pollution. Maybe the next time I go home ash trays will be extinct, and I will be able to breathe a little easier.

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