Originally created 09/21/04

Don't wait: Clear the air

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine says teenagers living in high-smog areas have their lung growth impeded, and exhibit lower lung function than their peers in low-smog areas.

Moreover, another study shows that secondhand smoke is worse on people than smog.

And in Delaware, according to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, a statewide smoking ban reduced indoor air pollution anywhere from 75 to 97 percent.

"The people who work in these places obviously have been relieved of a huge air pollution burden," says Delaware study author James Repace, a former Environmental Protection Agency official.

"I can tell a huge difference," said one Delaware pool hall manager.

Smokers' advocates have raised a huge emotional stink about plans for similar smoking bans in Columbia and Richmond counties. But there can be no doubt that the facts are foursquare behind such a move.

We urge Columbia County commissioners to follow through tonight on their earlier preliminary vote to ban smoking in most public places, including bars and restaurants. We can't wait for it to take effect Jan. 1.

We wish Richmond County commissioners would get off the dime and approve a similar ban they have been mulling over for weeks.

Because of the commercial and geographic integration of the two counties - you can scarcely tell where one ends and the other begins - a smoking ban in one county will work best if accompanied by a similar ban in the other.

Besides, if you could reduce water or land pollution nearly 100 percent by the stroke of a pen, would you wait even one day?

Isn't it time we cleared the air?


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