Jill Biden has moved into the spotlight as the wife of Senator Joe Biden, VP candidate for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. In an interview for Time Magazine, Jill stated that one of her areas of focus would be educating people about the dangers of smoking.
Jill recognizes that education and prevention is key. Once people are hooked on cigarettes, it can be very difficult to quit - as anyone who has smoked and struggled to quit can attest. As a teacher and a woman with two masters degrees and a doctorate, Ms. Biden understands that information is power.
Her work in the area of health care includes founding the Biden Breast Health Initiative, which is a not-for-profit educational breast health awareness program. With a special focus on teen awareness, this program educates women about the importance of self-exams and how choices and decisions can affect their health. Smoking is a factor in many illnesses and breast cancer is one of them. Helping young people to understand the impact of their choices will help them make smarter choices.
In an interview posted on the Essential Estrogen website, Jill speaks about how her life experiences influence her desire to effect change. ""I think I am like the average American. I'm in a community college classroom. I have students who are working and going to school and have children. I think I'm dealing with real life every single day. I take that home to Joe and say, 'Look. These students can't afford college. They are having these problems. We have to change this. We have to change that.' I think what I do in my life experiences has a positive impact on Joe and, hopefully, it expands to have a positive influence on other people."
With Jill Biden advocating for education to help prevent smoking, we will find ourselves with a strong activist in a powerful position to initiate change. Her influence will be a strong force in the movement toward putting health at the forefront of our national concerns.
Her husband Senator Biden has indicated in at least one debate that he would support a ban on smoking in all public places. Many commmunities struggle with this worker-health issue and big tobacco can often be found in the shadows pushing taverns and restaurants to resist such a ban. If our federal government comes in and makes it law, everyone will benefit.
I look with hopefulness toward a future that offers all people health insurance and all people the information they need to make informed choices about smoking and their health. With over 400,000 Americans dying of smoking-related illnesses every year, this issue has not gotten the attention it deserves. Perhaps soon it will.