Letter to the Editor

    Outdoor Smoking Dangerous Inside

    Dear Editor,

    I liked the unique and engaging style of Dave Johnston’s recent column on smoking (“”Toughen Up, Doll: A Few Seconds of Outdoor Smoke Won’t Kill Ya,”” May 10), but as I read further into it I was taken aback by his argument. Perhaps Johnston should spend less time coming up with clever jokes and more time doing some serious research.

    If Johnston would read California laws more carefully, he’d find that the 20-foot rule applies not only to entrances to public buildings, but also windows and similar openings. The reason being, of course, that there is nothing preventing cigarette smoke from wafting directly into buildings from outside. Some openings, such as skylights and intake vents, are also problem areas and are often overlooked.

    Contaminated air from cigarettes, which Johnston acknowledges is a serious health risk to smokers and the people around them after extended exposure, can easily become pulled inside buildings through these vectors.

    Far from being a negligible nuisance because it is outside, smoke from cigarettes (within 20 feet of any building entrance or air intake) can still be a serious threat to people inside nearby buildings as well as passersby. A few seconds of outdoor smoke might not kill you, but several hours of exposure – even from external sources – most certainly can lead to several health problems and death.

    – Dolores P. Velasco

    La Jolla resident

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