A study released today finds that indoor air quality in public buildings that allow smoking is on average 15 times worse than in similar building that don’t allow smoking. In some cases, it’s much worse:
“In one restaurant bar, the air pollution level reached a level more than 30 times as high as the pollution on the busy streets outside the restaurant where cars sat idling, waiting for passengers from a busy rail station at evening rush hour,” Carlson said. “The highest level of pollution, in one bar, was 160 times as high as the average level of pollution in smoke-free sites.”
Some argue that smoking should remain legal in bars because like smoking, drinking is also potentially harmful behavior. The obvious difference is that nobody is forcing anyone to share someone else’s drink, whereas we don’t get a choice when it comes to sharing the smoke-polluted air. If you want to smoke, be my guest – but don’t force it on me. This is a public health issue not only for employees, who are most at risk, but for patrons as well.
Luckily, we have leaders like Dick Codey and Jon Corzine committed to joining the 9 other states in banning smoking from public places. Codey has pledged to put the legislation up for a vote in the Senate before Corzine takes over. The proposed legislation, “would ban smoking in all restaurants, diners, bars, casinos, country clubs, bowling alleys and veterans’ halls. Cigar bars would be exempted.”