Nonsmokers' Rights Take Precedence!

Letter to the Editor of THE EAGLE-

This is in response to the letters by Bev White-Corl [Jan. 25, Jeannette Lampro [Feb. 3], and Cindy Carroll-Davis [Feb. 9], who believe that their smokers' rights are violated by the new city mandate restricting smoking in restaurants and public businesses.

Whose rights are really being violated? When smokers light up among us nonsmokers (including infants and children), we have no choice but to breathe in their toxic residue. Simply having smoking sections in restaurants does not solve the problem. This is the same as requesting to swim in the nonchlorinated end of the swimming pool.

Indisputable evidence exists which demonstrates the adverse health effects of second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke contains higher amounts of toxic agents than the smoke that passes through the cylinder of the cigarette into the active smoker's lung. The toxic smoke contains 73 times higher ammonia levels, three times as much carbon monoxide, volatile amines, volatile nitrosamines, nictone decomposition products, and tar and aromatic amines. In addition, some of the known carcinogens, such as benzo(a)pyrene, benzene, 2-naphthylamine, and dimethylnitrosamine are found in higher concentrations in this smoke.

The EPA has reported that second-hand smoke leads to 3,800 lung cancer deaths per year in nonsmoking Americans. Several other reports have found an association between second-hand smoke and not only lung cancer but also other types of cancer, including nasal sinuses, brain, breast, cervix and thyroid cancers, as well as leukemia and lymphoma.

Second-hand smoke is also a Class A carcinogen - the same classification as asbestos. Therefore allowing smoking in a public business would be equivalent to piping in asbestos dust throughout the ventilation system of that building.

Please by all means enjoy your carcinogenic nicotine delivery system with your cup of coffee, but don't do so near those of us who don't wish to die prematurely. Especially please don't smoke around infants and children,

     THOMAS CAREY, MPH                     Pittsfield, Feb, 14, 1996

The author is a professor of allied health and respiratory Care program director at BCC.

Reprinted from The Eagle, February, 20, 1996, Pittsfield, Massachusettes.

Please contact the author directly by writing or calling:

Berkshire Community College
1350 West Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201

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