Opinion: There is no safe level of secondhand smoke

Opinion: There is no safe level of secondhand smoke

I want to commend the City and Borough of Juneau for bringing our local smokefree law into compliance with the new statewide smokefree workplaces law. The current 10-foot ordinance is not adequate to protect people from secondhand smoke. Eighty percent of Juneauites do not smoke, and many of them complain to me that they don’t come downtown because of secondhand smoke exposure. And now that the city has covered the sidewalks, the situation is worse.

Local downtown business owners don’t bring their children to work with them because of the smoke coming into their businesses. Another business owner has to keep her clothing inventory at the back of the store because the smoke coming in from the sidewalk clings to the clothes if they are displayed at the front. I know which restaurants have cooks that smoke outside the kitchen door because the smoke gets sucked into the dining room. And when I go out to shows downtown at the bars, I leave at intermission when the sidewalk and alley smoke floods inside.

There is no safe level of secondhand smoke. It can have immediate, and potentially deadly, effects on the heart and blood vessels of the people exposed.

California, which has historically had the strictest smoking laws, now has a lung cancer death rate that is 28 percent lower than the rest of the country. Twenty eight percent!

Most people are concerned about inconveniencing smokers. Aren’t we overlooking the majority of people who want to experience downtown without having to breathe secondhand smoke?

Kristin Cox,

Tobacco Prevention and Cessation, JAMHI Health and Wellness


• My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not that of the Juneau Empire.