Respiratory Health Association recently honored the owners of Greater Chicago Truck Plaza in Bolingbrook for their lung health efforts. Company President John Puthusseril accepted the "Lung Health Champion Award" on behalf of the plaza, which does not sell any tobacco products. To protect the health of their customers the Greater Chicago Truck Plaza does not stock cigarettes, chew or other tobacco products and promotes smoking cessation.
As a profession, truck drivers have smoking rates that are two to three times the national average. One study shows as many as 60 percent of truck drivers smoke. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of premature death in the United States and is responsible for approximately 443,000 fatalities each year. Smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
"We applaud the Greater Chicago Truck Plaza for taking a road not traveled and opting to not profit from selling harmful tobacco products," said Joel Africk, Respiratory Health Association president and CEO. "They are genuinely concerned about the health of their customers and we appreciate the leadership steps they have taken."
Pat McGuire, senator for the 43rd District, was also on hand to congratulate the Puthusseril family on the decision they made 13 years ago to not sell tobacco products.
"Tobacco is a product we wouldn't want our family to use, so we decided we shouldn't sell it to our customers," said Robin Puthusseril, vice president of Greater Chicago Truck Plaza. "It is an honor to be recognized and appreciated for doing something good for the health of others."
In addition to refraining from selling tobacco products, the Greater Chicago Truck Plaza promotes smoking cessation and offers fitness equipment for complimentary use by truckers.
Respiratory Health Association, an Illinois not-for-profit, has been on the forefront of tobacco prevention efforts to keep future generations from smoking and help current smokers quit. The association concentrates several efforts on populations vulnerable to the tobacco industry tactics.
Respiratory Health Association has been a local public health leader in metropolitan Chicago since 1906. Today, the association addresses asthma, COPD, lung cancer, tobacco control and air quality with a comprehensive approach involving research, education and advocacy activities. For more information, visit www.lungchicago.org.