Anybody who calls Austin home knows that it’s a city that likes its cigs. Maybe it’s the bands, maybe it’s the bars, but it’s hard to think of a night out without forging your way through clouds of smoke. While many of us take this as a given hazard of a night on the town, at least one group is trying to keep Austin weird and less cancerous.
Live Tobacco-Free Austin is an initiative started by the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Service Department to encourage Austinites to consider cleaning up the air in our city in a time when the outlook is exceptionally dire. Don’t believe us? Tobacco-related deaths are the leading cause of preventable deaths in Austin/Travis county. That translates to 11 deaths a week in Austin – more than AIDS, crack, heroin, cocaine, alcohol, car accidents, fire, suicide, and murder combined. And even if you don’t smoke, you’re still affected. Each year in Texas, more than 4,000 people die from exposure to secondhand smoke.*
But enough of the gloom and doom already! We’re not here to be Debby Downers, especially when the folks at Live Tobacco-Free Austin have such a great thing going to help people quit. Mind you, this isn’t your mama’s stop smoking campaign (provided that your mother was into public health). Gone are the off-putting PSAs of old. Instead, Live Tobacco-Free Austin offers a community-based approach to helping people kick the habit. A quick scroll through their Facebook page will show personal shout-outs congratulating individuals on quitting smoking.
The personal touch continues on their website with all sorts of resources to help you quit. Users can also share personal stories of how tobacco has affected their loved ones here. The stories then get formatted into cool postcards and posted on the site, kind of like Instagram, except less hipster dependent and more emotionally affecting. For those wanting help with making their immediate environment tobacco free, check out this handy dandy map that pinpoints local businesses, health-care facilities, and other organizations that can provide materials on cutting out the smoke in your community.
The best part of the Live Tobacco-Free Austin campaign (you ask, rhetorically)? That would be the Ashtrayler, without a doubt. Following Austin’s adage of “if a store is good, a store on wheels is better,” the Ashtrayler is a cross between an Airstream and that sweater your kindergarten teacher wore on arts and crafts day-
The Ashtrayler is a Wienermobile of sorts, in that it goes to all of Live Tobacco-Free Austin’s events and rewards people that pledge to be tobacco-free by letting them sign an ashtray on the Ashtrayler. Anybody can then see your signed ashtray on the online virtual Ashtrayler, thanks to the magic of the interwebs.
Do512 is incredibly excited to be partnering with Live Tobacco-Free Austin. We’ll be the first to admit that living in Austin without a pack of American Spirits is hard, but if anybody can turn the tide on Austin’s smoking problem, it’s a group that takes what food trailers did for breakfast tacos and applies it to quitting smoking.