The new report of the surgeon general emphatically states, once and for all, what we in the public health community have believed for a number of years. Secondhand tobacco smoke is truly a public health threat. The public now needs for public policy to agree with the health facts.
There are indeed steps that public officials can take to truly protect the lives of those unwillingly exposed to the clear and quantifiable hazards brought on by environmental tobacco smoke.
We in public health will continue to educate young people to not begin this addictive habit, and we will continue to motivate current smokers to quit.
This report must be the catalyst to further protect those unwillingly exposed to the hazards brought about by secondhand smoke.
Now is the time to require all public places in this region, including bars, restaurants, casinos — in effect, all enclosed places — to ban this hazard. It is a denial of the public trust to act otherwise.
President, Missouri Public Health Association