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News Summary

Smoking ban clearly was the right move

Publication Date: 10/19/2009
  • Author:Editorial
  • Publication:Longview (WA) Daily News

Four years ago, a lopsided majority of Washington voters approved a ban on smoking in public places. While citizens may have the right to smoke, voters felt that right should not extend to subjecting others to their secondhand smoke...

A number of tavern and restaurant owners in this and other states with smoking bans have complained anew in recent weeks, saying they need every advantage they can get to stay afloat in this deep recession.

We're not convinced easing the smoking ban would help. To the contrary, there's evidence that it might hurt business. The Washington Department of Revenue reported last year that tax data showed that the food and beverage industry's earnings rose by 20 percent from 2006 to 2007.

In any event, the health benefits from this ban would seem to far outweigh concerns raised by its opponents. Indeed, according to a new report by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Medicine, those benefits are greater than voters in this state knew in 2005...

A University of California , San Francisco study concluded that exposure to secondhand smoke is about 80 percent as harmful as being a smoker.

Given these risks, there can be no justification for subjecting nonsmoking restaurant employees or patrons to secondhand smoke. This is not a question of personal freedom. It's a public health issue, pure and simple.