The smell hit Carole Allen, M.D., FAAP, upon walking into her son’s high school nearly 20 years ago.
That unmistakable odor, the kind that irritates throats, clings to clothes and makes eyes water. And here it was permeating her son’s school, thanks to faculty members who were allowed to smoke in the building.
A pediatrician and medical school instructor, Dr. Allen recognized the public health issue in front of her. She spoke with the principal, who blamed the teacher’s union for creating a smoker-friendly environment. Unsatisfied with the response, Dr. Allen formed a citizen’s committee and met with a lawyer to get the policy changed.
Her successful efforts led to a leadership role with the Massachusetts Coalition for a Healthy Future, which secured a smoking ban in all workplaces statewide. In addition to prompting a major cultural shift in her home state, the group’s work helped inspire a...