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Letter: Foster kids finally breathing easier

To the Editor:

As a certified tobacco treatment specialist, I am especially pleased that the Minnesota State Legislature listened to 93 percent of the residents that supported smoke-free foster care. Legislators included this requirement in the Omnibus Health and Human Services Policy that was passed during the last session.

Since July 1, Minnesota children in foster care have been protected from secondhand smoke in the home setting.

The harms of secondhand smoke are quite significant to everyone, but even more so in this vulnerable population. Secondhand smoke is so toxic that it is known to cause changes inside the aorta within five minutes of being exposed.

Along with this risk, secondhand smoke exposure amongst children has been closely linked to increased asthma exacerbations, respiratory infections, otitis media (ear infections) and sudden infant death syndrome.

Minnesotans are protected from secondhand smoke on the job and within indoor public settings such as restaurants and bars, and now the children placed in foster care are offered this additional protection that they so rightly deserve.

I thank the legislators who helped pass this policy that will safeguard these children against all of the negative effects of secondhand smoke.

Heidi Poole

Red Wing

Heidi Poole is a registered nurse.