Outdoor smoking ban hard to justify
There's no arguing with the facts that secondhand smoke is dangerous, to children especially.
Low birthweight, sudden infant death syndrome among children born to smoking mothers, increased number of infections, asthma, chronic respiratory symptoms such as cough and wheezing, dental cavities, middle ear infections -- all among a litany of ills accredited to someone else smoking in the presence of children.
Second-hand smoke carries more than 4,000 chemicals, 200 of which are known to be poisonous and more than 60 have been identified as carcinogens. Lung, nasal sinus, cervical and bladder cancer have all been linked to secondhand smoke.
Second-hand smoke is also bad for your heart and circulation system as well, of course.
Passive smoking has also been linked to the narrowing of the carotid arteries which carry blood the the brain, artherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, and nearly a doubling of the chance of a heart attack.
All of which play in to a move to ban all types of tobacco from public facilities. Smoking is already banned in all buildings and vehicles owned or leased by Mid Plains Community College, but a ban on all types of tobacco, including chew, was voted down in July 2007.
The ban was on the agenda again for tonight's meeting of the college board of governors, but its fate was anything but certain.
The above facts are certainly justification for an all-out smoking ban indoors or inside vehicles, but when one considers chewing tobacco or outdoor smoking, the connection is less clear.
Can tobacco smoke really compete with car, diesel, jet or coal exhaust as the most dangerous environmental threat? That's a hard argument to make.
And second-hand chewing tobacco? We don't even want to think about that ...