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News Summary

Worst smoking fears confirmed

Publication Date: 2010-12-09
  • Author:Editorial
  • Publication:Middletown Journal

Here are two more reasons that Ohio's ban on smoking in public places should never be repealed, and that more states should adopt similar measures:

  • Secondhand smoke kills an estimated 600,000 people a year worldwide -- around one in 100 deaths -- according to new research announced by the World Health Organization last month. Ohio's ban, approved by voters in 2006, is primarily intended to protect non-smokers from the fumes of cigarette smokers and, secondarily, to discourage others from starting the costly habit and to encourage smokers to kick the habit. Cigarettes are costly in terms of the health costs associated with the habit and, most obviously, their rising price.
  • U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin released a report Thursday indicating that any exposure to tobacco smoke -- direct or secondhand -- can cause immediate damage to your body. "There is no safe level of exposure to cigarette smoke," Benjamin told the Orlando Sentinel. "The chemicals in tobacco smoke reach your lungs quickly, every time you inhale, causing damage immediately. Inhaling even the smallest amount of tobacco smoke can also change your DNA, which can lead to cancer."

Of those 600,000 annual deaths caused by "passive" smoking, scientists told the Associated Press that 379,000 are from heart disease, 165,000 are from lower respiratory disease, 36,000 are from asthma and 21,400 are from lung cancer.

Sobering news, isn't it? Yet we have smoking advocates and some state lawmakers who would work to undermine or weaken Ohio's public smoking ban. These findings reinforce the reason that smoking is prohibited in lodges, taverns, restaurants, bowling alleys and other venues -- in order to protect workers who may have no other employment opportunities.

We know the arguments by heart now: Smokers have rights, too, and it's no one's business if we choose to smoke and harm our own health. This new research makes clear that, unless you are home and completely alone, your smoking habits are probably hurting someone else....