Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Facts of Second-hand Smoking

I wrote the following letter to the Editor of the Gazette. In was in response to another person's opinion letter.

An opinion letter written yesterday claimed that second-hand smoke doesn't kill people, but people say it does because "they just have no one or nothing else to blame it on". This is unfortunately grossly inaccurate.

A study on second-hand smoke was completed in May of this year by the U.S. Government's Center for Disease Control. Surgeon General Richard Carmona summarized the results.

"The health effects of secondhand smoke exposure are more pervasive than we previously thought. The scientific evidence is now indisputable: secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance. It is a serious health hazard that can lead to disease and premature death in children and nonsmoking adults."

The study estimated that living or working in a place where smoking is permitted increases the non-smokers' risk of developing heart disease by 25-30% and lung cancer by 20-30%. The study found out that passive smoke has been linked to some cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), multiple respiratory problems, ear infections and asthma attacks in children.

To say that there is no proof is simply denying the facts. Second-hand smoke is carcinogenic to humans. I am not a smoker and I am glad I do not have to breathe in smoke at my workplace. If you want to smoke at home, you can do so. No one is forcing people to smoke in their cars. No one is forcing smokers to smoke around their children. If you don't want to do these things, don't do them.

Besides, if second-hand smoking doesn't cause death than smoking around your children shouldn't bother you, should it?

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