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Friendly Skies for Smokers

November 29, 1987

In a recent editorial (Nov. 22) you correctly pointed out the importance of protecting the nonsmoker and the significant strides that have been made in this area due to the efforts of government, industry, individuals and the medical societies.

It is curious, however, that society so often takes so long to respond to hazards and risks that are scientifically and intuitively obvious many years prior to their successful response to the problem.

The fact that smoking is still permissible on planes is a perfect example. Although California has recently passed legislation to prohibit smoking on short intrastate flights, smoking is still allowed on long interstate flights.

If smoking is indeed hazard to our health on short flights, why isn't it even more dangerous on longer flights? Not only is smoking a certified serious health hazard but it is also a safety hazard.

What is really comical is that anyone who has flown recently can't help but notice that once their plane is airborne a total of 1.5 seconds, there is a mad rush to the loudspeaker to immediately announce that the nonsmoking sign is off and that the passengers can commence smoking. What's the rush to poison ourselves and those around us?

MICHAEL A. GLUECK

Newport Beach

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