Smoking restrictions

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Ever since smoking was revealed to be a health hazard, our Legislature has passed laws prohibiting smoking in public indoor places. Thankfully, there are very few institutions that allow smokers to light up inside. However, smokers have free rein in the rest of the world.

Every day when I walk to school I encounter numerous smokers on the sidewalk who blow smoke right into my face. Every time this happens I hold my breath as I try to rush past them.

The Environmental Protection Agency names multiple health hazards that are caused by secondhand smoke, but nonsmokers can't get away from the dangers of smoking because it is everywhere. Children especially are vulnerable to the dangers of secondhand smoke. This is unfair to children (and adults) who want to walk freely in a clean, smoke-free world. The right to clean air should override the freedom to smoke in public. Smoking should be restricted to private indoor areas such as homes and cars in the same way that smoking is already prohibited in stores, restaurants and airplanes.

I propose that anti-smoking laws should ultimately extend to public outdoor areas. After all, clean outdoor air is just as necessary as clean air indoors. Smoking must be kept away from mainstream public areas in order to keep our air as clean and smoke-free as possible. Why should we have to put up with the smell of cigarette smoke on our clothing, in our hair and, most important, in our lungs?

LEIBA ESTRIN
Squirrel Hill


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