Mr. Bruce Wotton has some misconceptions about the dangers of secondhand smoke (April 12).

His statement that “there are only a few people who don’t smoke” is incorrect. Only 24.8 percent of the adult population in Maine smokes – less than a quarter of the population.

It is well established that secondhand smoke endangers health. Exposure causes a variety of health effects, most notably heart disease and lung cancer. Nationally, 35,000 people die each year from secondhand smoke-related heart disease. Another 3,000 die of lung cancer.

Mr. Wotton stated that “people shouldn’t have to suffer and be made to go outside in the cold and wet just because a few people don’t like it.”

People should not have to suffer and inhale cancer-causing agents while they are earning a living just because a few people don’t want to go outside.

Bartenders have rates of lung cancer higher than firefighters and miners! In an 8-hour shift, non-smoking bar employees may inhale secondhand smoke equivalent to smoking 16 cigarettes a day.

A study performed in New York City prior to its smoking ban found that the air quality in one of the most popular Manhattan bars was worse than the entrance to the Holland Tunnel!

The California statewide smoking ban (including bars and gaming clubs) went into effect in 1998 and support from business owners was at 47 percent. Since then, business has grown and 75 percent of business owners now support the law.

Kristina Harnett, director

Healthy Androscoggin,


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