Who is protecting Homer residents' rights to breathe smoke-free air?

Posted: Friday, December 12, 2003

I was disappointed to learn the Homer City Council did not pass its smoking ban ordinance. I read the decision was based on protecting individuals' rights. I am wondering who is protecting the majority of nonsmokers' rights to breathe smoke-free air.

We have policies governing food handling to protect people's health when they eat in restaurants; it seems logical that we would regulate the air since we all breathe. The Environmental Protection Agency designated environmental tobacco smoke as a "Class A" carcinogen in 1993.

Environmental tobacco smoke, or secondhand smoke, is a known human lung carcinogen. It causes lung cancer. There is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure. With any exposure you are taking a risk.

My family does not risk eating in restaurants with bacteria-tainted food, nor do we risk breathing carcinogen-tainted air.

How unfortunate that Homer did not see its decision as an opportunity to protect all its citizens (smokers, nonsmokers, children and employees).

Deborah Nyquist , Kenai

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