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Healthcare Legislative Report: Meeting

Part A

Introduction

With regard to this assignment, I did not manage to attend a public meeting. However, I managed to listen to an online hearing. This hearing addressed itself to the current status and challenges facing smoke-free policies in the USA, particularly in Minnesota. The focus was on e-cigarettes, incense, and medical marijuana.  

Though the subject matter addressed state issues as they are in Minnesota, the hearing also addressed itself to federal issues regarding smoking practices in the USA. In particular, the speakers kept on referring to the federal policies that apply to our state rather than referring mostly on state policies. For this reason, I would say that the subject matter was both a federal and state issue.

The hearing took place on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at William Mitchell College of law.     

Given that the hearing did not record the number of people that were in attendance, I am not able to state categorically the number of people that attended the hearing. However, I can guarantee that they were many because the hearing was a public one held in a public institution.

The main presenter was Warren Ortland, but Kara Skahen moderated the presentation. With regard to distribution of agendas, it was not possible to tell whether this took place or not because the presentation did not capture this issue. However, the most significant thing to note is that the presentation provided notes on a power point program.      

Points of Interest

The topic that was addressed in the hearing was of great importance in nursing because it addressed the public’s health in relation to current smoking practices in the USA. The topic evaluated some benefits of controlling public smoking as well as emerging issues in smoking. It impacts nursing in the following manner. First, it addresses the current status and challenges relating to smoke-free policies in the USA with an aim of enhancing them so that the members of the public can enjoy cleaner, healthier, and safer living environments. Once this takes place, the members of the public will enjoy good health. Second, it will change the smoking practices in the state. Accordingly, the passage of the proposed smoke-free law will impact nursing positively in Minnesota because it will transform the smoking practices in the state; thus, reduce the risks of smoking (Fenelon, & Preston, 2012).         

The topic in question reinforced my personal concepts towards secondhand smoke because I have always been of the opinion that smokers should keep smoke to themselves if they cannot quit smoking. Therefore, by listening to the hearing, I was amused to hear that the speakers were also concerned about this issue. On the other hand, having been concerned about this issue right from the start, I would not say that the hearing changed my concept on smoking. However, it enlightened me about other issues, such as thirdhand smoke that I did not know about. This term refers to the smoke that comes from the hair, clothes and walls among other things after smoking is over. One might not be aware of this type of smoke, but it is also harmful just like the secondhand smoke (Bayer, & Bachynski, 2013). For this reason, we should not underestimate its effects. At the same time, the topic impacted my concepts on smoking practices by informing me about e-cigarettes that I did not know before because I am not a smoker. Once I understood these new types of cigarettes, I appreciated the need for adopting new laws on smokeless tobacco industry as well as ensuring that people do not smoke in public places.  

The hearing impacted my perception on the topic by strengthening it because I learnt that majority of the states in the USA have passed some legislations that enhance the implementation of the policies in question. This makes me proud of our states, and as a potential nurse, I am encouraged to continue protecting our health. In particular, my perception towards regulating smoking practices in public places has been strengthened because majority of us care about our smoking practices in public places.

References

Bayer, R., & Bachynski, K. (2013). Banning smoking in parks and on beaches: science, policy, and the politics of denormalization. Health affairs, 32(7), 1291-1298. Print.  

Fenelon, A., & Preston, S. (2012). Estimating smoking-attributable mortality in the United States. Demography, 49, 797-818. Print.

Link to the webinar (hearing) http://publichealthlawcenter.org/webinar/smoke-free-policies-redux-current-status-current-challenges