The Furor Over Smoking Regulations

July 28, 1985

It was shocking to me to read your editorial (July 14) advocating countywide anti-smoking ordinances or regulations similar to those in Laguna Beach.

One would expect that on the editorial pages of a "great" newspaper, a more rational, scientific and non-fanatical stance would be taken on this controversial issue.

Despite the widespread tumult caused by the anti-smoking zealots, the fact is that there is no scientific evidence that the smoke from someone else's cigarette is a public health menace.

A small minority of asthmatics and bronchial patients may be allergic to any smoke in the atmosphere (and they probably stay pretty close to home) but the vast majority of those who object to the smoking of others are suffering from a massive case of intolerance.

These are the same people who drive their cars on freeways, where they are breathing far more polluted air from automobile and truck exhaust, as well as the industrial fumes that permeate the entire atmosphere. They would be better advised to direct their protests to these sources of pollution.

A recent study by Harvard University showed that there are no harmful effects to a non-smoker from being in a room with someone who is smoking, but this kind of scientific information is not given much publicity--certainly not by the anti-smoking fanatics. They are happier pursuing their witch hunt.

Even the dire warnings to smokers by the medical profession are in some instances exaggerated (and this is not to recommend that anyone take up the smoking habit).

The point is that the time is long overdue for the public panic about smoking to moderate.

It is apparent that there are many factors involved in susceptibility to heart attack and cancer, including the genes we inherit, and that a more rational attitude toward smoking should be adopted.

Too many social and community conflicts have already been caused by emotionalism and ignorance.


Laguna Niguel

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