Stacy London has good reason to be passionate about her position as program coordinator with Breathe Easy Hamilton County.
Her mother, Helen Bauer, died at 82 in May 2016 of complications from smoking with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart problems. She smoked from age 16 until 60.
“She couldn’t even walk across the room without her oxygen level dropping so low that she would have to sit and slowly breathe to bring it back up,” London said. “I would tear up and be so concerned that she wasn’t going to make it. She wasn’t ready to go and we weren’t ready for her to go, but the disease took her away.”
London, who started in the position in October 2017, spoke about her motivation to have a smoke-free county at the Aug. 23 Just Breathe luncheon at the Delaware Community Center in Fishers.
London said she tried smoking in college but realized it wasn’t for her.
She also knows that her youngest daughter, a Westfield High School freshman, has friends that talk about vaping, the use of e-cigarettes.
So, when the position came open, she quickly accepted, leaving a previous position with the Westfield Washington Township.
London wants parents and students to know that while less toxic than cigarettes, e-cigarettes still contain harmful chemicals.
The use of e-cigarettes has risen from 1.5 percent in 2011 to 11.7 percent in 2017 among high school students. Research shows that many e-cigarettes contain nicotine.
London is eager to share her message about the dangers of e-cigarettes with parents or school groups.
“I’m speaking next month to a group of seniors because their grandkids are doing it,” she said.
London and her assistant program coordinator, Vanessa Montgomery of Westfield, want to do presentations whenever possible to share information.
London said 57 people from Hamilton County die from second-hand smoke every year.
“I want to change the culture here,” she said. “I don’t want our children to vape or smoke. I want to protect workers, protect people in all indoor spaces.”
For more, visit breatheeasyhamiltoncounty.com.