Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Secondhand Smoke

The paper has had several editorials about the smoking bans in restaurants these past few weeks. Many believe it is up to the restaurant owner to decide if smoking is permitted and not the county.

The Surgeon General reported today that separate smoking sections don't cut it: Only smoke-free buildings and public places truly protect nonsmokers from the hazards of breathing in other people's tobacco smoke.

If you employee people, the law says you must provide a safe environment. It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure the establishment is safe for workers. Businesses are also responsible for ensuring a safe environment for patrons.

  • Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air and ventilation systems don't eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • There is good evidence that comprehensive smoking bans, like those in New York City and Boston, don't economically hurt the hospitality industry.
  • Workplace smoking restrictions not only reduce secondhand smoke but discourage active smoking by employees.
  • Secondhand smoke can act on the arteries so quickly that even a brief pass through someone else's smoke can endanger people at high risk of heart disease. Don't ever smoke around a sick relative, Carmona advised.
  • Living with a smoker increases a nonsmoker's risk of lung cancer and heart disease by up to 30 percent.

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