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Secondhand Smoke
by Denise Buker


April 14, 2004

Well, I would just like to take a moment to voice my two cents on secondhand smoke.

I am ALL FOR a smoking ban in public places. I would not mind if bars or casinos were allowed to have smokers fill their air with toxins (mainly because I do not go to these types of places). But when it comes to going somewhere to get a bite to eat or spend an evening out with my husband and my son, I would desperately appreciate going to a place where I do not have to deal with the horrendous stench of cigarette smoke. Personally, I am allergic to the smoke, as is my husband, and my son will probably be allergic as well. I end up with a stuffy nose and swollen eyes for almost two days AFTER I have been exposed to cigarette smoke. Along with that, I have asthma. People with asthma are seriously affected by cigarette smoke. Yeah sure, there are medications that I can take to soothe these symptoms of being exposed to the smoke, but what is going to save my lungs from being tarred and blackened from the secondhand smoke I was exposed to while out minding my own business trying to have a nice evening out with my family?

Secondhand smoke is MORE toxic than actually smoking! I have witnessed death due to exposure of secondhand smoke. My mother's friend of many years had died from exposure to her husband's smoking. She had developed Emphysema and she had never smoked a cigarette in her life!! Many reports and studies have been done to tell us that cigarette smoke is toxic and EVERYONE who is exposed is at risk of health problems.

Did you know that if a smoker quits smoking, it will take ten years for his/her lungs to heal?

YES, I believe it is very sad that the people in the position to make change in this town have failed by not approving a smoking ban. So many young children who are not able to make the choice of being exposed to these smoker's toxins are truly the people our elected officials should have been thinking about when they decided not to forge ahead with a smoking ban. I believe that we as a community cannot take these children and ourselves for granted. We cannot allow ourselves to be blinded by the glitz and glamour of smoking. We cannot think of this as a "freedom of choice" issue for the smoker. If we do that, then, what about MY "freedom of choice" to have a healthy environment to breathe and live in?

We have to face the reality of the effects of secondhand smoke on everyone and make that reality into law! Well, I guess I gave you my FIVE cents worth!

Thank you,

Denise Buker
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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