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Breathe Easy: Tobacco Cessation and Asthma
Healthy worker

To advocate for healthier air where you live, work and play, the Healthy Worksite Initiative is promoting Breathe Easy.

Following is a list of some quick and easy ideas and resources to help you improve indoor and outdoor air quality at work and at home, help you to quit smoking and stay quit, and help to create a healthy environment that is supportive to all of us.


Healthy Indoor and Outdoor Air

At Work:

  • Minimize or eliminate the use of scented products. Ask your Wellness Committee about how to implement a scented products guideline.
  • There are many types of flowers that can cause asthma and allergy problems. Not all people have problems with the same flowers. Before bringing flowers to the office, collect a list of flowers that cause asthma and allergy problems for people and ask others not to bring flowers that are on the list. Ask your Wellness Committee about how to implement a flower guideline.
  • For tips on keeping your office air cleaner and asthma friendly, check out the Environmental Protection Agency's,  "An Office Building Occupants Guide for Indoor Air Quality."

At Home:

Other things you can do for cleaner air:

  • If you smoke, quit. For assistance, call the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). The call and the coaching are free, friendly and confidential. 
  • For cleaner outdoor air, bike or walk to work.
  • Check the pollen count. For people with asthma, it is better to avoid working and exercising outside on days when the pollen count is high.
  • Check the Air Quality Index. On days when the air quality is poorer, it is important for people with asthma to limit the amount of time that they work or exercise outside. Those without asthma can help by avoiding activities that can create more smog. Get more information on air quality and asthma and other lung conditions.
  • Air Pollution Advisories is a call to action that the Department of Environmental Quality issues to encourage individuals and businesses to reduce activities that produce pollution during hot summer days or days in the winter when the air is stagnant.
  • If you keep indoor plants, here are two tips for keeping your cube neighbors with asthma and allergies healthy:
    1. Don't over water your indoor plants. Mold grows in damp areas, including your common indoor plant. To check and see if your plant has enough water, touch the top of the soil, if it is still damp, it has enough water.
    2. Pesticides and other plant chemicals can trigger asthma attacks, and can cause headaches for people with chemical sensitivity. The best thing to do is avoid any use of pesticides and chemicals for indoor plants.
  • Get more information about the harmful health affects of mold and pesticides.

Taking Care of Asthma

If you or someone you know has asthma, it is important to see a doctor for regular check ups and when asthma symptoms get worse. A physician can create an individualized Asthma Action Plan that will help you or the person you know manage asthma. If any of the following happen, it is time to contact your doctor:

  • Asthma attacks occurring more than once a week
  • Waking up at night more than once a month from asthma
  • Using a rescue inhaler two or more times a week
  • Going to the Emergency Department or an urgent care clinic because of asthma
  • Hospitalized because of asthma
Additional Resources

  • Take the Asthma Control Test and share it with a physician to find out what more you or the person you know can do to manage asthma.
  • For more information about asthma and how to manage it, check out the Oregon Asthma Resource Bank.
  • If you are living with a chronic condition like asthma, consider taking a Living Well class in your area. Classes are held at a variety of times and places throughout the state.
  • For more information on programs and resources that are available to support people with asthma and other lung conditions, contact the American Lung Association of Oregon.
  • The flu is a big concern for people with asthma as the flu can make your asthma worse. For more information on where to find a flu shot clinic in your area, check out the Flu Clinic Locator or view the Free Flu Vaccinations at state agencies offered through PEBB.

Smoking and Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke contains over 60 cancer-causing agents and many other toxins including formaldehyde, cyanide, carbon monoxide and arsenic. There is no known safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Secondhand smoke is deadly. An estimated 800 Oregonians die every year as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke.

  • If you smoke, quit. For assistance, call the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). The call and the coaching are free, friendly and confidential. 
  • All PEBB members are eligible for help to quit smoking from the Free & Clear® program. The highly effective Free & Clear® Quit For Life Program includes free nicotine replacement products, or patches, one-on-one coaching sessions with a Quit Coach, and a Quit Guide to help you through the process. Don’t let tobacco rule your life any longer. Call 866-QUIT-4-LIFE (866-784-8454) or go to PEBB's Free & Clear Web site to find out how you can take control.