The Right to Breathe Clean Air

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The folks at the Cato Institute ["Please Do Smoke, If You Like," Close to Home, Jan. 20] must have missed the part of the U.S. surgeon general's report that states: "The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke."

And the part that says: "Exposure of adults to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer."

What part of "health risk" don't these people understand? If we were to follow their logic, we would do away with all restaurant health and safety regulations because they inhibit free choice. Rats in the kitchen? Let the workers decide. Food left unrefrigerated? Let the customers avoid the place if they are worried about getting sick.

The Cato Institute needs to wake up to the fact that everyone has a right to breathe clean air on the job and in public places, and that smokers don't have a right to harm the health of those around them. Virginia should follow the District, Maryland, and all the other states and countries that recognize the importance of breathing clean air and enact a comprehensive smoke-free workplace measure.



Smokefree DC


© 2008 The Washington Post Company