Letter: Secondhand smoke reason enough for ban on smoking in restaurants

Dear editor:

This letter is in response to the SGA's lack of support for the smoking ban in Muncie. I am both astonished an disheartened at the decision not to send a letter of support. I can only assume that this lack of support is in some way connected to lack of education.

I am a Health Scientist, for two years I worked as Health Educator and Health Screening Specialist, previously an intern for Smokefree Indiana, and certified by the American Lung Association to teach smoking Cessation classes, I feel it is my responsibility to provide enlightenment about this subject.

Cigarette smoking represents the single most important preventable cause of death in the United States.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health Publication No. 93-3405 from Sept. 1993, "Among infants to 18 months of age, secondhand smoke is associated with as many as 300,000 cases of bronchitis and pneumonia each year.

Secondhand smoke from a parent's cigarette increases a child's chances for middle ear problems, causes coughing and wheezing, and worsens asthma conditions. If both parents smoke, a teenager is more than twice as likely to smoke than a young person whose parents are both nonsmokers." If you require further information on this topic, you can refer to the Health Center or the web site's for the American Medical Association, or The Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Regarding an infringement of one's right to smoke, there is a smoking ban in Fort Wayne, Indiana and the state of California. No one is saying you can't smoke. Smoke all you want, just do not smoke where you are forcing someone else to deal with the consequences of your habit.

I sincerely hope that the SGA reconsiders its position on this issue.

Jason Melton
graduate student


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