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July 14, 2006

Secondhand smoke

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.

Robert Hudson
President, Missouri Public Health Association
Jefferson City



Once again we have smoke being blown on this subject. I've read the Surgeon General's report and nowhere does it specifically prove second smoke is a killer. Instead it rehashes the same old arguments about the toxins contained in cigarette smoke, the same toxins people get far more of every day from automobiles, new carpet, fresh paint, gas grills and stoves, radon, and ordinary natural causes. On a daily basis people injest up to 165,000 times more arsenic from drinking water than what's contained in a single cigarette(based on 20th century standards of 50ppm per gram or water). This is not a scientifically proven health problem but a personal dislike, class driven issue. It is a classic example of one social group trying to dictate how another social group should live promoted by the same peole who would dictate what we eat and live in general. Note that the first country to attempt to force it's citizens to not smoke was Nazi Germany. Remember what else happened there? The people promoting smoke bans fear people like me who smoke, drink, ride motorcycles, drive fast cars, and generally live on the edge. Many of these people think gardening is exciting. Read some of their bios when they are available. These people do not have lives and what they do have is spent worrying about all the things they could die of. Well, you know what? Stick your heads in the sand because I intend to live life as fully as I can and if it involves things like smoking or eating greasy fried foods, so be it. I'm not immortal and I haven't a clue what afterlife, if any there may be. I also don't intend to get to be 60-70 years old and look back a boring, empty life. I worked for a long term health care firm and saw the sad ends of too many people. That will not be me.

JTBolduc. Just living my life

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