To the editor:
The negative health effects of secondhand smoke have long been documented. Studies routinely show that exposure of nonsmokers to the regular smoking of family, friends, co-workers and patrons causes lung cancer and other lung problems in the otherwise healthy nonsmoker. These health problems are similar to those that are bringing a premature death to the smoker. Even pets are harmed when they live with smokers.
New studies are showing that even "casual" exposure is harmful to nonsmokers. A University of Minnesota study released in December found that levels of tobacco-specific lung carcinogen increased in nonsmokers when they visited a public setting where smoking is allowed. These carcinogens, metabolites of NNK, could increase their risk of lung cancer.
Secondhand smoke in restaurants, bars and other public places presents a potential health hazard to employees and nonsmoking patrons. It is time that Lawrence does something positive to protect everyone in our community and ban smoking in those public spaces. It is the healthy thing to do.
Charles and Judy Pohl,