Northwest NEWS

July 13, 1998


A letter from a young reader

Ban smoking everywhere

Secondhand smoke contains carcinogens, many of which are cancer causing chemicals. Therefore, smoking should be banned from public places such as restaurants, work places, bars, local hangouts, hospitals and city streets.
   When people smoke, they are releasing toxic smoke and chemicals into the air. Not only does this smoke contain carcinogens and cancer causing chemicals, but it also contains unburned tobacco from the cigarette. Breathing tobacco smoke is actually worse than smoking the cigarette itself.
   Everywhere you go, you run into tobacco smoke. There seems to be no escape. Whether you breathe it on the streets of Seattle, in a bar while having a drink, or at the work place, it is all the same. No brand of cigarette carries a "safer" by-product of smoke. They all contain the same harmful chemicals that plague our bodies.
   Besides killing innocent by-standers, it also kills workers who work around it. Restaurant employees are forced into terrible working conditions. Many of them will have cancer later in life and will regret working in these bad conditions.
   "Selling your health" to restaurants for money is not worth it in the long run when many health problems will develop. Most restaurants and bars that allow smoking do not have health insurance policies for their employees. Don't you find this suspicious?
   Having smoking and non-smoking sections in restaurants does not fully work. The particles in tobacco smoke will circulate through the room and infect the non-smoker's breathing space.
   Air vents and circulation systems also affect the movement of smoke. They act as tunnels and pathways leading to the non-smoker.
   To combat the harmful effects of secondhand smoke's carcinogens, I hereby propose that smoking be banned in all public places. This will help create a more safe, clean and healthy environment for non-smokers.
   Remember that you do have the right to clean air and the right to stay healthy. No one can take that from you.
   Ben Mahnkey, Bothell